Visit Georgia's Oldest Bookstore
Tucked away in the quaint town of Carrollton in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains lies Horton’s Books and Gifts.
Horton’s Books and Gifts is the oldest bookstore in the state of Georgia, aging 123 years old. Horton’s is located on Historic Adamson Square in the heart of Carrollton, which lies west of Atlanta. In its more than 100-year existence, Horton’s has been under the ownership of five individuals. In 1891, Mr. N.A. Horton opened the store within his furniture and undertaking shop. Upon his death in 1916, his son Hewling “Hap” Horton became the owner. During his time as owner, Hap moved Horton’s to several different locations on Adamson Square before returning it to the original. In 1968, Doris Shadrix, a long-time employee and partner of Horton’s, became the third owner of Horton’s Books and Gifts. After serving as an employee or owner for 42 years, Shadrix sold Horton’s to its fourth owner, Larry Johnson. In 1997, the current owner Dorothy Pittman purchased Horton’s from Johnson, becoming the fifth owner of Horton’s Books and Gifts.
The success of Horton’s is based on the shop’s willingness to adapt and diversify to meet the needs of customers. Horton’s inventory has offered such things as fine china, men’s clothing, school supplies and coffins — but the thing that has remained constant is books. The shop’s customers have always known Horton’s for its unmatched service. Employees and owners pride themselves on the fact that each customer will leave with something, whether it’s a book in tote, a book order or a referral.
Horton’s is also willing to search for out-of-print and hard to find books. Pittman says, “Our willingness to adapt to and meet whatever needs and wants our customers have has separated us from bigger retailers.”
From the founding of Horton’s, owners have always been proud to be small business owners and contributors to the Carrollton community. The landscape of the book selling industry has drastically changed over the years — from recording purchases and orders manually to using Microfiche, the introduction of computers, Internet becoming the mainstream and now providing wifi to customers — and Horton’s has seen it all.
This summer, a summer reading challenge and Where’s Waldo event are bringing a younger generation to the shop. Six books have been chosen for the challenge, and kids entering Kindergarten through eighth grade can read for a chance to win. To participate in Where’s Waldo?, children can stop by Horton’s to get their passport and then start their search around town.