KATY BUDGET BOOKS STAFF

Tamra Dupre (Center, front) is moving her store, Katy Budget Books, to Mason Road after about 20 years at the store's current location on Fry Road. More than a dozen staff will help her move into the new facility in early December.

Walking into Katy Budget Books, one wouldn’t think that the store will be closing its doors soon to move to a new location. Students from Taylor High School sort through books at tables at the front of the store while bibliophiles wander a maze of bookshelves, browsing for new titles to lose themselves in. But after about 20 years – the Katy institution is moving, owner Tamra Dore said.

“We are going to work our last day in this building on Sunday, Dec. 1,” said store manager Richard Deupree. “We’ll shut down Sunday night at 6 p.m. and will begin packing immediately.”

Movers are scheduled to come and pick up books and store fixtures and take it to the store’s new location at 870 South Mason Road, Ste. 101, Deupree said. The store’s staff – about 15 will be staying on with the store, including Deupree who has been with the store for more than eight years – will then begin unpacking and getting the bookstore’s new location ready.

“It should take about four days to unpack and the hope is to open up on Friday [Dec. 6], ready to go,” Deupree said.

Katy Budget Books originally opened on First Street in downtown Katy in 1983, Dore said. At the time, Dore was a practicing certified public accountant and had stopped into the small, 800-square-foot bookstore during her lunch break. She hit it off with the woman that owned the store at the time and left her card behind with a note to get in touch if the store was ever up for sale.

“Then, I guess about a month later, I went back on my lunch hour and when I walked in [the former owner] said, ‘Funny thing. I was just about to call you,’” Dore said.

The former owner’s husband had been transferred at work, so the store was up for sale. Dore went home that night and spoke with her husband, Carl Dore, who supported her decision to move forward with buying the store. Eventually, the store moved from First Street to Avenue B. After opening a second location in the mid-1980s, the Katy location eventually closed in favor of the new location near the intersection of Fry and Saums Road. Dore had the current location built around 2000, and the store has been there ever since, she said.

Since that time, the store has done well, Deupree and Dore said. However, as Katy has changed, the challenges of the book industry in the age of the internet have forced them to examine some difficult truths. Deupree said that surveys have shown that most of the store’s customer base is south of I-10, closer to the Cinco Ranch area. Customers north of the freeway are sad to see them go, but as a business, being more convenient for book lovers is essential, he said.

“[Customers tend] to be south and so we just felt like it behooved us to try to get a little closer to them -  to try to be more convenient,” Dore said. “Where it looks like … it’s not a big detour to get here.”

One goal after the move is to revamp and refresh the store’s programs such as book clubs and signing events, Dore said. Providing services is essential for a bookstore to be successful in the current digital economy that offers books in digital format and through online ordering, she said.

Deupree lauded Dore for her commitment to the community, including support for teachers and her dedication to her staff.

Moving around a lot when she was young led Dore to a love of books, she said. Wherever a bookstore or library was, she could find a friend in a book. Her love of reading was with her through moves until she graduated from Katy High School and she continued being a lover of bookstores, she said. Eventually, that led to owning her own shop.

“I think Katy Budget Books is a perfect example of what happens when you just follow what you love to do,” Deupree said.