Empire Books and News to be re-branded


Derek Gilbert


Empire Books & News is in the process of being re-branded to The Inner Geek after being purchased by local business Geek Inc.

The Inner Geek at Pullman Square will be joining two others in Ashland and Lexington, Kentucky, and all three will be ran by local owner Jarrod Greer.

The name change from Empire Books to The Inner Geek has already officially taken place on paper, and more changes to the store are in the works for the coming months.

“We’re starting to integrate some of our own product lines in here with comics and toys, while also expanding the bookstore part,” Greer said. “This building is 12,000 square feet and (the previous owners) were using 5,000 square feet of it as a bookstore.”

Greer said he intends to use most of, if not all, the store as modifications begin to take place. Some of the modifications he said he wants to bring include a stronger pop culture presence to the store, as well as a place for people from the community to come to read or play board games.

Greer said while he wants to make these sorts of changes to the store, he wants to do so slowly to keep the customers comfortable.

“One thing we don’t want to do is alienate the customer base,” Greer said. “We don’t want them to show up and say ‘Oh, that’s not my store anymore.’ We want to give them time to know us and for us to know them.”

Store manager Amanda Viars said she is eager to be staying with the store through the change alongside the rest of the store’s current staff, and she is excited for the changes on the way.

“We’re going to have a lot more things than we ever have before,” Viars said. “All the stuff we’re bringing in is the stuff people have been asking us for. Vinyl records, more toys and more things besides just books.”

The Inner Geek is looking to add a coffee bar in the future, another thing Viars said people have clamored to her for in the past.

Among the significant changes Greer is bringing includes having the store function as both a traditional bookstore and a comic book store.

“There are plenty of book stores that have a comic section,” Greer said. “I can’t even think of a store I’ve been in, anywhere in the country, that is a full-blown comics and pop culture store, plus a full-blown bookstore. That’s what we’re trying to create here.”

Greer said it was very important to the store’s former owners that the store remain local and independent, and he is glad to be able to fit that mold.

“They felt like no huge, corporate entity can care enough for a store like this,” Greer said.

He said while this is his third store, he will continue to be the local store owner he feels Huntington deserves.

“This is my livelihood, and not some corporate board of directors,” Greer said.

Derek Gilbert can be contacted at [email protected]