Birch Tree Books in Leesburg: Creating Community

Just around the corner from the Loudoun County Courthouse in Leesburg, eagerly awaiting locals to come and support their community, sits Birch Tree Books, one of the newest bookstore additions to the downtown area. Birch Tree Books first opened in May of 2021, and has already taken steps to forming bonds and becoming influential to the community. “[I] just really wanted to do something for the community, and I opened a bookstore to bring readers together and to just build a real, strong community of readers in Leesburg,” owner Fallon said. “[I] really wanted to add some value to our downtown.” Although it first originated as a popup out of the trunk of a car, Birch Tree has grown into an established bookstore in just under a year.”

“One of the ways we are able to create a network or a community around books is by hosting events,” Fallon said. Birch Tree organizes various events targeted to different audiences, attracting people in the community and helping to establish connections between people. Birch Tree also supports local authors and artists by hosting signing events and displaying paintings around the store. “We rotate artists, so they are able to sell their work and get exposure.” Fallon believes that an important factor to becoming a crucial part of the community is by creating a meaningful experience. “People don’t come in here just for the books; it’s not just about selling books, it’s about creating community and creating an experience.” The store is always looking for ways to stay connected to the community, including running book drives for nonprofit organizations and discussing matters and raising awareness in the reading community.

“We feel like [banned books are] a big threat to the intellectual freedom of children, so we are working with Equality Loudoun and hosting a book club to discuss these books and talk about why it’s important to not ban books in the community.” Although the business already has an established place in the community, Fallon still has goals for the future. “We want to continue reaching out into the community, we want to be able to carry more titles, and just have a larger reach beyond,” Fallon said.

She believes that many of the people who visit local bookstores are visitors from out of town, and she strives to attract more community members to come in and buy books locally rather than from big-name companies.

“I think that people don’t always realize the impact that they have when they come in and purchase this one book; if they come in directly, and they visit me, and they buy the book from me, I remember them, and I’m happy and I’m excited that I’ve met somebody new in the community.” Fallon’s main goal in running the bookstore is to motivate locals to engage more in their community, and one of the simplest ways to do that is to support local businesses. “The value of small businesses alone is really important. If you want downtown Leesburg to be vibrant, and somewhere people want to go, the community members have to support that.”

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