PORT ISABEL — As someone with a background in education and a love of learning, Gayle Curry felt inspired to follow her dream of creating a community space that fosters a love for books, life-long learning and growth.
This summer, Curry opened a full-service bookstore and coffee bar named the Unruly Cactus, in Port Isabel’s Historic Lighthouse Square area.
“Some of my fondest memories are of reading to my children and to my former students,” Curry said. “A love of children’s literature and promoting literacy and learning, along with support from my children all inspired me to open Unruly Cactus.”
There’s a little bit of everything for visitors of the Unruly Cactus.
The general interest bookstore carries a large selection of new books in a wide variety of genres. Additionally, the store offers coffee, espresso, teas, and gifts including works by local artists.
The Unruly Cactus also has space to read, study, play chess or visit, and book clubs are welcome to meet there.
“This experience has far exceeded my greatest expectations,” Curry said. “I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to bring a bookstore and gathering space to the community.”
According to Curry, the Unruly Cactus unofficially opened on June 17.
“We received our first shipment of books on June 15 and after telling everyone who stopped in over a period of weeks we weren’t open yet, with stacks and stacks of hundreds of books to be categorized and shelved, we opened the door and invited visitors to look through the stacks as we sorted,” Curry said. “The response was wonderful and continues to be so great.”
Curry said her sister inspired the bookstore’s unique name.
“One day she mentioned she was giving away cuttings from what she referred to as an unruly cactus,” Curry said. “I knew exactly what she meant by the phrase and I instantly loved it. It was full of wonder, curiosity and hope — perfectly fitting and inspiring for a bookstore adventure.”
The Unruly Cactus is located in Port Isabel at 412 E Queen Isabella Blvd., Suite C.
The bookstore is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
For Curry, experiencing the excitement of a local bookstore with the community has been very fun.
“Seeing and hearing the reactions have been so encouraging. Having folks sit and read, play games, and in some cases, crochet has been just what we’d hoped for,” Curry said. “The support from the community and visitors has been incredibly heartwarming and it’s been wonderful to see former students excited about books.”
Curry said a ribbon cutting and grand opening for the Unruly Cactus will be scheduled soon.
Additional plans for the bookstore include — hosting story time for children, poetry readings, book signings and other literary events.
Curry added that a selection of used books will be offered in the next few weeks.
According to Curry, special book orders are available and online shoppers are able to support local bookstores by visiting bookshop.org/shop/unrulycactus.
For questions or more information about the bookstore, visit its Facebook page at https://tinyurl.com/mkzukjy8 or call (956) 299-4144.