Little Professor Book Center
Little Professor Book Center is an independently-owned bookstore currently located at 2844 18th Street South in downtown Homewood. Although Paul and Diane Seitz opened it as part of a nationwide franchise with more than 120 stores, the surviving Homewood location is now one of only three Little Professor stores still open.
The Seitzes opened their original Little Professor franchise in Roebuck Shopping City in Roebuck in 1972, but sold it to Charlie and Joyce Watkins in 1973. The Watkins opted not to continue as a Little Professor franchisee and renamed the store Watkins Book Shop. The Seitzes then opened their first Homewood store at 2901 18th Street, on The Curve in Homewood in May 1973. During the 1980s the Seitzes opened two other Little Professor franchise stores. One at 3150 Overton Road in Mountain Brook opened around 1988, followed by another in Crestline. Both closed within a year or so.
In the late 1980's, an arsonist set a fire between the Homewood Little Professor store and an antique store behind it. The bookstore was declared a total loss by the insurance company, primarily because of smoke damage to the inventory. The store was allowed to sell any intact books at a substantial discount, however, and did so out of their parking lot for a week or two. After the damage was repaired and new inventory secured, Little Professor reopened.
In October 1992, Little Professor moved two blocks south to a larger building at 2717 18th Street South. Crape Myrtle's Café (originally "L. Indica"), owned by Jim Muir, operated in the rear of the building.
In 2016 the Seitzes sold the building to Capstone Companies headed by developer Michael Mouron. The store closed in January and reopened in March in the former Let's Get Organized location at 2844 18th Street South.
In January 2020, the Seitzes sold the store to new owners and retired. Within the first year under Jonathan and Meredith Robinson, Little Professor refreshed its branding and implemented a membership program and began weekly book readings by Homewood locals and began offering birthday party packages. The Robinsons decided to stop sales of magazines and greeting cards to focus on books.
- Seitz, Pat (July 16, 2006) personal communication.
- Book Stores - Small Business Loans (n.d.). LoanSensePlus.com -accessed August 21, 2008
- Cromwell, Sydney (September 15, 2016) "Hatfield, Little Professor relocating after developer purchases property." The Homewood Star
- Williams, Emily (January 26, 2017) "Homeward Bound: Little Professor Plans Move Back to the ‘Heart of Homewood’." Over the Mountain Journal
- Warnke, Melissa Johnson (November 2018) "From Baseball to Bookstore: Pitcher Throws Changeup, Hits Homerun with Birmingham’s Oldest Independent Bookstore" Alabama Retailer. Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 18-19
- Staff (March 24, 2021) "Homewood Business Happenings." The Homewood Star
- Little Professor Homewood web site