"We were smart enough in the beginning to know the national chains were driving out independents," he says. "Now my vision of the successful independent of the future is one with a main store and niche stores tied to a neighborhood, college, or farmer's market--a big nucleus that's small enough to be linked to individual communities. We survive because people know why we're here."
The meeting adjourned, Unowsky rises from the table and walks back through the store, passing the main registers on the way. There, behind the counter, along with a clutter of Hungry Mind crockery and general merchandise, hangs a conspicuously displayed T-shirt with the Hungry Mind's trademark cow and a message: "Independent bookstores are the intellectual backbone of this country." The shirt retails for ten dollars