New Bookstore and Art Gallery Roars to Life

By Remy Sisk

Photos by Kathryn Harrington

“It was kind of the meeting of two people in a specific place in their life,” says the Roar-Shack Bookstore & Art Gallery Co-Owner Amanda Lamkin of the forming of the business. For the last several years, The Roar-Shack, located at 2044 Frankfort Ave., has been A Reader’s Corner owned by Tim and Judy Fout. Recently, however, the Fouts were looking for a way out of their business while the Lamkins were looking for a way in. Just a few conversations later, The Roar-Shack opened its doors to the public on September 2.

Lamkin’s husband, Thomas, is a visual artist and she is an author. Together, they own Line by Lion Publications. To support their business, they have regularly had to travel, selling books at various fairs and conventions. But when one of their four children recently encountered some health problems, Lamkin knew the couple had to make a change. “Less than a week before I saw the ad from Tim and Judy, I said to Thomas, ‘If we don’t find a way to start getting my books and your art out there more regularly, we’re going to have to close,’” she relates. “And then I saw the ad that they were looking for new owners and sent them a message, and within a week, we were the owners of The Roar-Shack.”

The Roar-Shack owners Thomas Lamkin and Amanda Rotach Lamkin.

Called The Roar-Shack because it is now the home of Line by Lion, the store celebrates all things artistic, featuring visual art on the walls in addition to its eclectic collection of books. This amalgamation of the arts is something that was important to both Amanda and Thomas as they formed the identity of The Roar-Shack and an aspect that certainly makes them unique. “People who are interested in the written word are often also interested in art, music, theatre and all of those things – and those are all things that we’re incorporating here,” Lamkin attests. “We’ve had two live music shows and plan on having more. We, of course, have the art gallery, and it just seems that people who have a love for independent artists of any medium – that appreciation can really transcend mediums. So this is a safe place where people can enjoy what other people have done, and then we’ve also set it up to be a place where people can create their own.”

Indeed, there’s a guitar lying around the store that anyone is free to use. Lamkin affirms that she’s very much hoping to host writer groups at The Roar-Shack. And if anyone is interested in having their own art featured on the walls, all they have to do is discuss a few details with Amanda. “We’re trying to make this a haven for anybody who likes making or enjoying art of any sort,” she says.

The Roar-Shack is less than a month old, but its promise of fostering the arts within the community indicates its growth to be decidedly imminent. As Lamkin emphasizes, “This is a place where people can just come and leave the rest of the world at the door. We have chairs and couches everywhere – this is a place where, of course I like it when people spend money here, but if someone just wants to come and spend their time in a relaxed and homey atmosphere and be creative, that’s something that they now have here.”