1295 Bardstown Rd. | 2720 Frankfort Ave. | 1313 Bardstown Rd.

Store History

The Story of Carmichael's Bookstore



The original location at Bardstown Road & Bonnycastle Avenue


Carmichael’s has been in business in Louisville for more than 30 years. It was started in April of 1978 by Carol Besse and Michael Boggs (the store name is a combination of their first names), and has been owned and operated by them ever since. It is a family business in the best tradition. As the business grew, so did the number of family members involved, and the staff now includes a second generation.

Carmichael’s original store was located at 1582 Bardstown Road at the corner of Bonnycastle. In 1978 the Bardstown Road strip was desolate, a far cry from the lively corridor of cool shops and interesting restaurants it is today, having barely recovered from the devastating 1974 tornado. The only people out on the street to greet the staff some mornings were men queued up to sell blood at the Plasma Alliance.

In 1983, the store moved to its present location at 1295 Bardstown Road. Sales were steady but in 1995 Heine Brothers Coffee opened their first location in the same building, and a year later Ramsi’s Café on the World opened next door. Carmichael’s corner at Bardstown Rd and Longest became one of the liveliest spots in the entire city. The synergy created by the dense cluster of shops and restaurants in the vicinity made that stretch of Bardstown Road a destination for the entire region.

In 1999, Carmichael’s opened in Crescent Hill at 2866 Frankfort Avenue next to the Blue Dog Bakery. Then in 2003, the Frankfort Avenue store moved just a block and a half down the street to its present location at 2720 Frankfort Avenue at the corner of Bayly. Again, as the years passed, the Frankfort Avenue corridor became another destination area, packed with unique places to shop and eat and simply hang out.

Although both stores are small, they offer a hand-picked selection of titles reflecting both the taste of the owners and that of the neighborhoods they are a part of. From the very beginning Carmichael’s has been committed to being a neighborhood gathering place by being open seven days a week and every evening. Both stores are on corners that hum with activity – walkers, joggers, dogs and children, families and couples – lively streetscapes never darkened by the shadow of a big box store.

As a founding member of the Louisville Independent Business Alliance, Carmichael’s is actively committed to Keeping Louisville Weird and spreading the word about the importance of buying from locally-owned businesses.


The Highlands location at Bardstown Road & Longest Avenue

The Crescent Hill location at Frankfort & Bayly Avenues