David Douglas Hardwick, manager of Logos Bookstore, is a man of ideas and action. He seems equally comfortable on his motorcycle or at his desk, wielding a hammer or a pen. He is a tall man, hefty, with a bushy blond beard. He is thirty-two years old, married to the former Mary Grey James, his high school sweetheart. They have three daughters: Leigh, age nine; Paige, age six; and Aubrey, one month old. Doug and his associates founded and developed one of the most successful stores in the French Quarter.
Community Standard: Where and how did the Logos Bookstore get started?
Hardwick: It is a franchised chain of bookstores that originated in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1968. Our store at 614 Royal Street was the fourth in the chain and opened in 1971. There are now forty-six stores in operation.
Community Standard: What did you do before opening your store?
Hardwick: When I graduated from Florida State [with a degree in business administration], I was hired by IBM as a computer salesman. I worked for them for eight years until 1971, when I left to open the bookstore.
Community Standard: Why did you choose to leave IBM and open your own business?
Hardwick: 'Way back in 1970 I began to search myself. “Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing in this world?” I was being very successful, yet I wasn't happy. With IBM I had the good life, a good income, but it was not very fullfilling for me personally. I wanted to find something that was more fullfilling.
I've been a Christian since high school, but I guess I never tied believing in God and Christ into my day-to-day personal life. It was more of a hereafter thing or a Sunday thing. I began to intellectually search out why I was here. I asked God the question, “If you're really there, open some door and shove me through it. Just make it so clear that I know I'm not tripping out on my own thing.”
Community Standard: How did you receive guidance in making a change in your life?
Hardwick: In 1971 the answer to my own intellectual searching and my prayers came to me in a series of events that tied together.
Mardi Gras night, 1971, three of us guys (who were involved in a street ministry and a coffee house) were sitting around. One of the guys mused, “I'd really like to see a Christian bookstore in the French Quarter.”
I had a very strong intuition that he was talking to me, although the comment was not even directed at me. I knew that was the answer I had been praying for, but my reaction was to storm out of the room. I really made me mad. That was not what I wanted to do! Me, an IBM salesman, selling Christian books in the French Quarter!?
I let it sit for a few days, but I couldn't shake the idea. After that a whole series of events (some might call them coincidences — I don't) led me straight down the path to opening the bookstore. That was the opening of doors I'd been praying for.
Community Standard: What do you see as the role of Logos Bookstore?
Hardwick: The whole idea of the store is to be a Christian bookstore without a churchy image. We want to present the Christian message in an atmosphere where people can come in and not feel that they are being hassled. We don't put the arms on them and say, “Are you saved, brother?” That's not our purpose. Our purpose is to present, through the books in the store, the claims of Christianity, and to be a resource for books for the Christian community.
Community Standard: What are the joys of having a business in the French Quarter?
Hardwick: From the business point of view, it's not like being in a shopping center where everybody that comes in is more or less the same. The Quarter is a real melting pot. We get many divergent philosophies and viewpoints.
The Quarter is just a phenomenal place to be. There's never a dull moment. If there's not a fire truck running down the street, there's somebody going down the street half naked….
Community Standard: Have you ever considered being a minister?
Hardwick: No, the bookstore is my mission.
Community Standard: Will you go to Heaven?
Hardwick: Yes — by the grace of God.
Copyright © 1974–2006 Henry H. Mitchell.