Selling gently used books, exclusive art, and gifts … in a place that feels like home

By Katie Chatham

It’s hard to walk into The Purple Cat used book shop without feeling at home. And that’s just the way owner Shari Graham likes it.

Although Shari, a 24-year Prescott resident, planned to retire when she sold her tax preparation business, Taxtime, in 2012, intended to take time for the things she enjoyed, like projects around the house, travel, and venturing into theater, the universe had other plans. In 2013, Dan, Shari’s husband of nearly 48 years, died suddenly of complications from minor surgery.

With the support of family and friends and sheer will, Shari decided that there was a lot of life left to live, and she was determined to make it good. She became more involved with Prescott Center for the Arts and acted in several plays including Harvey, To Kill A Mockingbird, Steel Magnolias, and last summer, The Savannah Sipping Society.

During this time, she reconnected with another passion: books. An avid reader herself, it was only natural for her to gravitate toward a job working at a local bookstore. Mostly, she enjoyed the conversations she had with people about what they liked to read.

When the store was relocated, Shari decided to open her own bookshop—she’d owned Taxtime for 17 years, so she had experience operating a business.

Why the name, The Purple Cat?

Shari says, “Because it makes me smile.”

The shop is comfortable, colorful, and whimsical, including flowers hanging from the ceiling.

Located along a strip of shops anchored by Method Coffee off Willow Creek Road in the Fry’s Shopping Center, The Purple Cat offers a wide array of gently used books by authors of all genres, as well as some local authors proudly displayed in front. Most books can be purchased for four or six dollars.

Customers have the option of bringing in books for store credit as well as being on a request list for titles they want.  Those services add to the small-town vibe and create a sense of community.

An unexpected addition to The Purple Cat: an exclusive mini gallery, showcasing a dozen local artists, none of whom are in other galleries.  The artwork ranges from photography and watercolors to batik and unique wood creations.

When asked what she enjoys the most, Shari replies, “It’s not just about books. One of the things I like best is that I have the most interesting conversations with my customers!”

On the days Shari isn’t in the shop, The Purple Cat is in the capable hands of Laurie Jackson or Michelle Pruyn.

For more information, visit The Purple Cat Bookshop at 3180 Willow Creek Road in Prescott or online at www.thepurplecataz.com, or call 928.776.0116.