Mr. Bill’s Book for a Buck Blowout sale is on once again despite Monday’s hiccup.
Cleburne city officials agreed Tuesday night to close a portion of James Street running alongside Bill’s Books to accommodate the three-day sale.
“We’re going to close that side street to help [Bill Miller] out,” Cleburne City Manager Rick Holden said Wednesday morning. “We discussed it and it’s a simple administrative decision that we had no issue with. I think it’s something fair and reasonable we can do to help him out.”
The sale is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday outside of Bill’s Books, 116 S. Main St. in downtown Cleburne.
City officials, citing health and safety violations, ordered Miller’s building closed to the public in May.
Miller, 81, operated a bookstore out of his building since the early 1980s. Miller said it’s a shame as the closure leaves no bookstores between Cleburne and Fort Worth.
The city allows Miller to enter his building, but not to live in or operate a business out of it. The orders grant Miller until September to correct more than 30 violations cited. Miller said the bookstore breaks even and generates little profit and estimates the cost of repairs would run into thousands of dollars, which he does not have.
Several area residents helped Miller move to Grandview recently and established a donation account in his name at all Pinnacle Bank locations.
Miller said he plans to sell his building. Cleburne resident Katherine Ann Murphy and others organized the sale to raise additional money for Miller.
“Our ultimate goal is to benefit Bill and help him get set up in Grandview,” Murphy said. “But we also encourage everyone who loves to read to come out. There’s going to be a huge selection of every type of book you can imagine.”
Everything sells for $1, but shoppers are welcome to donate as much as they want.
Miller said, finances allowing, he hopes to use any unsold stock to eventually open another bookstore in Grandview on a smaller scale.
A Monday vote by the Johnson County Commissioners Court almost derailed the sale. Commissioners voted 3-2 to deny Miller use of the county parking lot adjacent his building.
Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon and County Commissioner Rick Bailey voted to allow Miller use of the lot.
Commissioners Don Beeson, Kenny Howell and Jerry Stringer cited issues with liability and precedent in denying the request. All three wished Miller success but said it would not be fair to open use of county property to some but not others.
Bailey, who attended Tuesday night’s meeting of the Cleburne City Council on an unrelated matter, said he’s happy to see the sale back on.
“We kind of discussed it and tried to come up with options to help Mr. Miller out,” Bailey said. “So I think this is going to work out well, the city closing the street. And I’m hoping a lot of people show up to buy a book and help out.”
Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain agreed.
“We’re all hoping the book sale is a huge success and helps Bill out,” Cain said. “Anytime we have one of our citizens we can help out we always want to do that.
“Our first concern was that we had to find a place that would be beneficial to Bill and also safe for the public and I think this solution is going to work out well.”
Murphy called the solution offered by the city a good option and said she and other supporters of Miller are looking forward to a successful sale.