We celebrated our birthday over the weekend. Thirteen years of Texas history research. Thirteen years of books and maps. Thirteen years with the best customers on God’s green earth.
With no training, experience or real design software, I’d like to say I did the best I could with what I had designing that first book. Maybe I did. But what I ended up with was an ugly little book by the standards I hold today.
Back then, though, boy was was I ecstatic….”Wow! I made a real book!” I bounced off the walls when the first order came in and ran in circles like a sugared-up toddler when customers said they liked the book.
Some things never change, I guess.
Now, had you told me I’d be sitting here 13 years later, surrounded by an entire library of books that I designed, plus a constellation of maps and prints…I’d have told you to lay off the hooch.
We normally don’t make a stink about our birthday. We’re only mentioning this one because it’s attached to some kind of big news…
In recent months, this business you’ve helped us to build has changed radically. We have changed the printing equipment we use in our office. We have changed book printers. We have launched our lifestyle brand, Semper Texas. And we have changed our surroundings.
At long last, y’all, we have a home. A real store. A place where you can come visit, meet the people who have been in your inbox for so many years, talk some history.
We’ve been told by folks who have visited that there’s nothing like this place in all of Texas. More than one person has said, “I want to LIVE here. Put a shower in and I will move in.”
Those comments really hit home because HOME was exactly the feel we were going for. This IS home because Texas history lives here. We built this history house to share with you, so let’s take a tour of your store, shall we?
A history-based business isn’t well suited to stripmall life. Texana and tanning salons make for strange neighbors.
After a year of searching, we settled on historic Furman Plaza in downtown Corpus at 418 Peoples Street.
The building has some history of its own, is about as solidly built as we could ask for and is managed by one of the kindest people we’ve ever met. So we chose it for our permanent home.
Street parking isn’t typically difficult to find. The main entrance is on Peoples Street under the green awning & live oaks.
Once you’re inside the atrium, head straight back to the elevator and mash 5. That’s the top floor. Once you arrive and the elevator doors open, you can’t miss us.
“Skeletor” Cabeza de Vaca de Isla San Jose, with his impressive rack, keeps watch over everything from his perch in the main room.
As you can see, we’re displaying our maps framed. Each frame was selected specifically for the map it contains and you can take them home, right off the wall (or grab an unframed copy from our map chest.)
Many of the maps in these photos will look familiar to you. But some are new maps and prints we’ve created just for the store.
Placards next to each map and book tell you the story of that particular piece of Texana and why it is significant.
We’re showcasing the books we publish, of course, but we also have a room dedicated to rare books on Texas, original maps and Texas art. (Our research library is in there, too, if you ever need to look something up.)
Don’t be surprised to find old Texas paintings, Harding Black pottery, San Jose tiles and other Texas art objects floating around. These are curated by Mark, who has an eye for such things.
Semper Texas gear is scattered everywhere – coasters, blankets, cutting boards, lanterns, mugs. That’s part of what gives the store its homey feel.
We are trying to figure out the logistics of having a shindig for friends of Copano Bay Press and Semper Texas. It will be easier to do that now that high tourist season is over, but still challenging because you’re all scattered across the state.
Until we figure out the best way to get everyone together, we invite you to come visit. (I can’t believe I’m actually writing that sentence after 13 years!)
We’re open noon to 6, Monday through Friday. On weekends, the main entrance is locked, but we are open by appointment.
This was a big decision and I’m (only mildly) terrified. But working long days and nights here is a joy and I’m confident that most everyone who finds their way here will feel the same joy.
We are excited. We are hopeful. Most of all, though, we are grateful to each and every one of you for your years of support. Without you, we couldn’t give Texas a store that is worthy of her history, culture and traditions.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
God & Texas,