Gregory Kornbluh has dreamt of owning his own bookstore for years. Downbound Books, located at the southwest corner of Apple and Knowlton streets in Northside in the former home of Park Cafe, makes that vision reality.
Having previously worked at a bookshop near Boston, he joined the sales and marketing department of the Harvard University Press in 2009. After living on the East Coast for 13 years, he returned to the Queen City in late 2018.
“I was very fortunate to travel widely for work, and at every stop I’d visit as many bookstores as I could," Kornbluh says in a press release. "Over the years, the outlines of my dream bookstore became more and more clear. We’ve been open just a few days now, but so far I’m really, really pleased that people seem to be seeing it the way that I’d hoped.”
The 500-square-feet shop specializes in small-press fiction, historical non-fiction, politics and the social sciences, books on crafts, cookbooks and picture books.
Kornbluh envisioned a minimalist space that could accommodate many books despite its small size; to execute this concept, he hand-built the store's shelving and furniture. A retired architect, his father helped with the design. But Kornbluh credits his mother, a professor of History and Women's Studies at the University of Cincinnati (Blue Ash), for his love of books and bookstores, according to the release. He calls her the best reader he knows.
Sarah Fischer will join Kornbluh by curating Downbound's cookbook and children's sections. Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday — hours will soon expand — the bookstore plans to roll out book club programming and events in the new year.