My first visit to The Last Word came early in my freshman year at UNCC.
I, like many new college students at UNCC, played Magic: The Gathering, a fantasy collectible card game, and I learned very quickly that the most convenient place to meet with like minded players was just a short walk off of campus, across W.T. Harris at a used bookstore called The Last Word.
It turns out one of the three joint owners, Matt Hicks, is himself an avid Magic player – and the rest is history. My friends and I became fast friends with Matt, and our first visit became weekly visits – often staying until far after closing hours.
But for me, and I know many other former and current UNCC students, The Last Word, initially just a place to play Magic, became something much more.
The Last Word served as a study hall, a place to escape campus or my apartment on nights my roommate threw an unexpected party, a universal meeting place, a place to buy last minute textbooks, a place to satiate my thirst for fiction, music, movies, games, a place to find a disc for disc golf and a course on which to throw it.
Over the past 4 years I’ve watched their business flourish and deservedly so. I’ve made great long lasting friends there, and bought a lot of books, sold some too.
Big things are in the works at The Last Word.
A few months ago they opened a second location in Salisbury, and now they are taking their enormous red bookshelves and moving their main location from its home on the corner of N. Tryon and W.T. Harris – 5 minutes up N. Tryon, into the now vacant Faulk Brothers Hardware building. With the new light rail line going in, The Last Word should be more visible and more accessible than ever bringing their unique multifaceted business and friendly service to a huge new people group.
Matt was eager to sit down with me to talk about what’s in store for Charlotte’s best used bookstore and what The Last Word Volume 2 is going to be like.
Charlotte Agenda: So what does this new building mean for The Last Word?
Matt Hicks: Well, I’ll tell you a little bit about the new space. We bought the old Faulk Brothers Hardware on N. Tryon between Orr Road and Old Concord and it’s about one and a half times bigger than the space we are in now. It also has a back building that gives us a lot of options as far as storage and utility goes.
We hope to move by October/November but it depends on how things go with the light rail construction. The extra space lets us plan out our sections a lot better, as far as shelving goes for fiction, non-fiction, our coffee shop, music, movies, games and so on goes. We’re going to have lots more seating – lots more flexibility.
CA: I know you have some ideas as far as performance space goes. Does this open up that opportunity?
MH: We are definitely going to have a performance area – but we will be waiting a little while longer to develop that into dedicated venue space. That’s one of the things we loved about this space – it opens up opportunities like that to do things we’ve always wanted to do.
CA: What does this mean for the Magic business?
MH: We’ll have tons of display space for people buying singles and much more room for tables so more players can come play at the store. We plan to have an area that has free cards for new players to come and pickup. It helps new players who want to learn and build decks and lets me get rid of a lot of my overstock.
CA: The game plan is still used books, movies, music, and games?
MH: That much is staying the same! We are probably going to expand our disc golf offerings – we want to cater to that crowd some more. We recently bought a disc golf basket that people can practice on, if they want to try out their new discs. We hope to set that up maybe in the back area of the new location. We also have a huge wrap around porch, we’d like to have rocking chairs, checkers, and chess kind of like a Cracker Barrel situation. We have all kinds of things planned for you guys, it’s a great little location.
Some photos via The Last Word.