LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Books-a-Million in Lake Charles has opened a new temporary location at the Prien Lake Mall.
The location on Ryan Street was significantly damaged by Hurricane Laura and has been closed ever since.
“I was at Walmart today looking for [a] book and [they didn’t] have it,” Books-a-Million customer James Sattelmaier said. “I [asked] who might have [the book and] he said Books-a-Million.”
Sattelmaier and his family would frequent the Books-a-Million on Ryan Street all of the time before Hurricane Laura. When it closed after the storm, they anxiously awaited its return.
“We drive by it like every two weeks hoping something will be open,” he said. “So, when I heard this was open I said I gotta go there.”
While the new location is exciting, seeing the old store damaged is hard for employees.
“It was really heartbreaking,” Books-a-Million manager Kaleb Moerbe said. “I hate to see the old store go but we love this location, it’s different.”
Moerbe said the new location is smaller and a bit easier to manage. Regardless of size, they’re just happy to finally be reopened.
“I miss the interaction with customers and seeing the old employees,” he said. “It’s like a homecoming thing.”
Since opening about two weeks ago, the book store has seen a lot of book lovers and it’s been busy.
“[The customers are] really excited; they’re so happy we’re open,” he said. “They were really bummed when the hurricane hit and they were really excited to get the kids back in.”
Plans for the old building haven’t been finalized yet but management said for now Books-a-Million will remain in the mall.