For 27 years, Sundog Books has maintained its spot in Seaside as the town’s beloved bookstore. As soon as you walk through the doors, the employees greet you as a friend and the familiar smell of books and beach washes over you.
It’s easy to lose yourself in the mesmerizing collection of books, cards, notebooks, mugs and more as the creak of the floorboards guides you deeper into the store.But don’t let yourself be overwhelmed. “If you have no idea what you want to read, customers can always check out the employee recommendations bookshelf,” says staffer Sarah Gossett. “Plus we’re always happy to help if someone can’t find what they’re looking for.”
Owners Bob and Linda White moved to Grayton Beach in 1983 from Jackson, Miss., and happened to meet town founder Robert Davis, who told them about the new beach town he had planned named Seaside. Like any timeless town, Seaside needed a bookstore and the Whites jumped on the opportunity. “We felt that the beach and books were a good fit,” Linda White recalls.
Though it has always been the go-to place for visitors and locals alike for the latest beach read, Sundog has grown significantly since it began in the newborn town of Seaside. Originally, the bookstore was located in a tiny shop on the beach — today’s Amavida Coffee. “Since then the area has grown and so have we,” Linda recalls. The shop has been in its current location for 15 years.
Long-time employees look back on the move and laughingly remember carrying books and merchandise across Highway 30A from the old store to the new location. All the while, of course, the original Sundog, a black Labrador named Patty, would tag along. For 15 years, Patty was the ultimate mascot: “She loved to come to work so much that if we had the day off she would walk down here anyway,” Linda remembers fondly. “Every customer was warmly greeted by the loveable lab.”
Though Patty was the “sun dog” of the store, the name originally came from the 1978 movie “The Deer Hunter.” A sundog is a ring of light that is sometimes visible around the sun, which is caused by light refraction through ice crystals in the atmosphere. “Once you know what a sundog is you tend to see one on cold, overcast winter days,” says Bob White, who came up with the idea for the name. Urban myth claims a sundog brings good luck.
Perhaps this rings true as the bookstore continues to be a prominent cornerstone of Seaside. Whether you’re searching for a new book or attending one of the weekly book signings on the porch, Sundog is the place to go.
Visit Sundog Books online