Business Beat: Craig bookstore to add coffee bar, wireless Internet

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If the name is any indication, Downtown Books is well-stocked with the printed word, be it in fiction, non-fiction, hardcover or paperback.

Within a month’s time, the shop will have a new offering to add to the reading experience.

Beginning in early August, Downtown Books, 543 Yampa Ave., will be serving up gourmet coffee, as well as cold drinks and other refreshments.

“We want to give people a place to feel at home and comfortable, where they can relax, sit down and read a book,” employee Marlana Howell said. “It’s always been an idea that we’ve wanted to achieve.”

Howell said owner Terry Carwile has been working on the project since taking ownership of the store in March.

Besides putting a refurbished wooden bar counter in the back corner of the shop for the new clientele, the staff also recently rearranged the bookshelves around the storefront to allow for better customer flow.

“The funny thing about that is that we didn’t really have to get rid of any books, we just use the space better,” employee Sunny White said. “That’s been one of the main compliments lately, is people being able to walk around better.”

The staff also plans to add more seating space in the store for people to take advantage of the location’s wireless Internet.

“This way, people don’t just have to go to the library or the college for Internet, they can just come here,” White said.

For more information about the store, visit www.downtownbooks.com or call 824-5343.

Barbecue restaurant owner sees success

The building at 1740 E. U.S. Highway 40 is one Craig resident Cherratina Pankey frequented a lot as a visitor in recent years.

Now, the very thing that drew her there is what keeps her there as a hostess every day.

Since the beginning of June, Pankey’s Smoked BBQ has been in business at the building formerly owned by Gabe and Joy Daigle under the name Mom & Pop’s Sandwiches.

However, upon entering the eatery, customers might be hard-pressed to see the change in ownership.

Pankey said she plans to keep the restaurant’s décor and menu.

“We’ve got the same exact food, except I added things like Cajun corn muffins and coleslaw,” she said.

Pankey was first attracted to the Daigles’ restaurant by Gabe’s brisket, spicy sausage, pork roast, po’ boy sandwiches and other Cajun barbecue items.

“I was a loyal customer, and every time Gabe put the ‘For Sale’ sign up, I’d scold him because I didn’t want to lose my delicious place to eat,” she said. “My youngest son kept saying I should buy it, and I told him, ‘There’s no way I can do what that man does with that meat.’”

Gabe offered to teach Pankey his cooking methods to sweeten the deal.

Since mastering the kitchen techniques, she has set forth keeping the business running largely the same.

Business has been good.

“It’s been pretty busy,” Pankey said. “A lot of people come in here and ask what’s good, and I tell them ‘Everything,’ and I truly mean that.”

Pankey does have some plans to make the restaurant her own. She said she is thinking about serving beer in the future.

“I really want to avoid it becoming like a bar, but I can understand how beer and barbecue kind of go hand in hand,” she said.

Pankey’s vision for the business is that of a family hangout. One of her plans is a weekly karaoke night on the patio.

“Hopefully, that’ll take off for the younger kids in town,” she said. “They can say, ‘Hey, we’re going down to Pankey’s,’ and mom and dad will know you’ll be home by 9:30 (p.m.)”

Pankey’s offers free karaoke at 7 p.m. Wednesdays for ages 14 and older.

For more information on the restaurant, call 826-9793.

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