A Space For Stories

A Space For Stories

Located in downtown Waco, Fabled Bookshop & Cafe is a curated space for good times and coffee. 

Story By Maran Shales

A Dream Come True: Co-founders Kimberly Batson (left) and Alison Frenzel (right) met through a mutual friend to achieve their dream of opening a bookstore to create the popular downtown one-stop bookshop and cafe. Photos courtesy of Fabled

Years before co-founders Kimberly Batson and Alison Frenzel met, they both dreamed of opening a bookshop in Waco. And a good origin story always has a red thread that connects people. However, in their case, one could say a red bookmark connects them. The appropriately-named, carved wooden owl, “Aesop,” greets every Fabled Bookshop & Cafe customer as they walk in and bid goodbye. Aesop is what connects Frenzel and Batson. 

A Secluded Space: Discover the study space tucked away in one of the corners of the bookstore providing a minimally distracting environment for those who need it. Photo by Maran Shales

A Secluded Space: Discover the study space tucked away in one of the corners of the bookstore providing a minimally distracting environment for those who need it.

Before Fabled came to fruition, Aesop sat on a piece of property surrounded by other statues of all kinds. Batson got a call about this owl from a friend who had acquired some land, and it wasn’t long before Batson and some friends came right over with a pickup truck to rescue him. Once Fabled was established in 2019, he went out of storage and became the mascot of the book and coffee shop.

Frenzel and Batson met through a mutual friend who knew of their desire to one day open a bookshop. So, from a shared passion, their friendship grew, and concepts began to form. They found a building downtown, and the restoration and decoration process began. Colors, textures, patterns and furniture pieces all came together with the influence of the own personal style. 

Fantasy and Fashion: Featuring a Narnia themed coat closet and other decor, plants, pieces of art and other elements decorate the bookshop to create a fun space from eager young readers to experienced book lovers. Photos by Maran Shales

Although different, the principle of contrast allows them to blend styles and create a look with harmonizing elements. From smooth stone countertops to exposed brick walls, the design structure of the bookshelves provides contrast with the lush green plants that tower to the ceiling –– every decorative element complements another.

Just as a book needs to contain several chapters that create an entire story, Fabled would not be the shop it is without all its many facets. Each corner of the shop is unique, but each section’s design still comes together to create a cohesive look. 

In the back of the shop are bookshelves packed neatly with colorfully-bound spines occasionally sporting cards below with employee reviews to entice a reader on the prowl for another new book. Conversation is encouraged over on the plush couches, and the tables accommodate larger groups. 

A reading nook around the corner is a haven for concentration. Fabled’s atmosphere is inclusive not only for various conversation types but also for various ages. An entire room is dedicated to children’s books, and the decorations create a whimsical air.

It takes a Village: Assistant manager Payton Terreri (left)and media manager Kai Jackson (right) collaborate to create a welcoming environment to ensure customers feel embraced by their expertise and hospitality. Photos courtesy of Fabled

“Fabled is a meeting place for people who want to connect and have community whether that is surrounded by literature or just a good time sitting and resting with friends,” Fabled media manager Kai Jackson said. “If you are looking for a cozy and comfortable place, we are the place for you.”

Payton Terreri, assistant manager at Fabled, has always had a passion for books and reading but never believed it possible to have a vocation in the field. That changed when she learned through one of her professors at Baylor that Fabled was hiring. Having already been a customer at the bookshop, she eagerly submitted an application.

“I always wanted to work in the literary field of sorts, but I didn’t think it was possible,” Terreri said. “I didn’t think it was possible because I thought the only place you could make a living in the book industry was if you were an author.” 

She said she was relieved when she realized that it is simply not the case. 

 “Being here made me realize that there are so many moving parts to the book industry that even if you are not a writer, you can easily find a career in books,” Terreri said. “There’s so much to facilitate; from the shipment and sales––there’s plenty to do.”

“Fabled is a meeting place for people who want to connect and have community whether that is surrounded by literature or just a good tie sitting and resting with friends. If you are looking for a comfortable place, we are the place for you.”

– Fabled Media Manager Kai Jackson

When asked what about Fabled inspires her, Terreri’s face lit up.

“I adore everyone that comes in here,” she said. “I love the people that I am around every day, whether they be customers or my coworkers.” 

The aspect of the community that people create is very inspiring to her, she said. For example, when customers come in and sit around talking or reading, she said she loves chatting and learning their stories, and catching up with them on their visits is a major highlight for her.

So whether you are looking for a new book, a place with an excellent coffee to enjoy with a friend while you catch up or a cozy spot to finish your work or assignments, this is the place for you. Immerse yourself in literary delights and community warmth here as you explore the shelves or engage in lively discussions.