Meet our Staff


Flossie and Bunnie are the well-loved mother and daughter duo running the show here at Union Avenue Books. Bunnie and Flossie are going on 12 years here -- the feisty store mascot Scout has been there for seven of those years, barking at the bikes and scooters zooming by, but making up for it by being the cutest one in the store. 

The love for the art of words began young, as Flossie grew up in a house where the walls were filled with books, and as a child would play pretend bookstore with her sister among other silly games. After deciding to open a bookstore of her own, she thought her hometown, Knoxville, would be the best place for it: thus, Carpe Librum was born (which would eventually become the Union Ave Books you know and love). 

Flossie has always been in retail, and she decided she wanted to work at a bookstore in the 90’s. Sheila, another current member of the Union Ave staff, was right there with her. The first store she worked in closed in 2000, leading her to start work at Barnes & Noble, where she only lasted one week; she needed a more customer oriented job. 

To help out her mom, Bunnie started working at Carpe Librum out of college, with the same visions and complementary interests as Flossie. 

“I wouldn' t want to do it without Bunnie or Scout. I love where we are, I love downtown. We opened right at the start of the downtown growth spurt. It’s amazing watching places open, watching places close, seeing the farmers market and festivals. Music and arts and bookstores fit right into that scene. We support the other businesses down here, and they support us, it’s been a nice community here.”

As the bookstore has grown, the opportunities for author events and expansion have grown with it. Authors of all different genres and places, though primarily local, have come to host events and talk about their books. 

“Every day is different, you look forward to what is going to happen every day. People from all over the world come here. Suggesting a book to someone and feeling happy about it is a really special feeling.”

Bunnie was pregnant when she opened, and now both of Bunnie’s kids are growing up in the bookstore. Bunnie loves to hike and travel and is an avid fan of yoga and camping. 

Flossie spends her days walking Scout and swimming, and she obviously loves to read and go to movies. She’s more of a homebody than most. 

Some of Bunnie's favorite: mystery and fiction (The Dry Jane Harper, Daisy Jones and the Six, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and American Marriage).

Flossie's favorites: fiction & literary fiction (Hearts Invisible Furies, Trouble With Goats and Sheep, Abigail).



He loves a good ghost story. 



As a child, Chelsea was very sickly and went to the doctors often.  Living in Nashville at the time, her mom would take Chelsea to Davis-Kidd bookstore after every doctor’s visit. Chelsea slowly piecemealed an impressive library of books that propelled her into a love for books, and it was all thanks to an independent bookstore like Davis-Kidd. With her library grew her deep love and support for reading and independent bookstores. Once a door opened for Chelsea to be welcomed into the bookstore, it was a no-brainer. A friend she had that worked at Carpe Librum said they needed someone to work on weekends, which she picked up and then eventually became full time.

Chelsea has become the fearless leader for independent bookstores. She spends her days here helping run the show, and when she isn’t at the store she tends to her kitten, whose mischief we hear of regularly. 

Chelsea is a jack of all trades when it comes to reading tastes, including genres like literary fiction, sci-fi, intermediate, and history.



As a writer and people-enthusiast, Tori makes a point to fill her plate with all things literature. When she isn't coordinating events here at Union Ave, you can find her freelancing as an author assistant, trying to read nonfiction, or drinking tea with her friends. Her preferred genres are fantasy (Babel: An Arcane History by R.F. Kuang), literary fiction (Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez), and poetry (Thirst by Mary Oliver), and she is always ready to gush about her most current literary obsessions. Tori lives in Jefferson City with her sister, Tessa, and their cats Gemma and Cider.



In fifth grade, Margaret literally got laughed at by her teacher while reading out loud to the class. She’d missed a line in the whole return-and-shift-down-one motion, due to an undiscovered vision issue. The incident made her commit so strongly to being a better reader that she became an editor … and now wears glasses. 

Margaret, aka magi, grew up mainly in places that begin with a “T” such as Texas, Taiwan, and Tennessee. Oh, and Twin Land… she’s always been defined as someone’s other half, but she’s working on becoming a whole human. Books help her in her search for self.

According to her book journal app, she leans heavy on the fiction side with emotional/reflective jauntily balanced by adventurous/funny. Her top pick for 2022 is Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, if that gives you an idea. And right on its heals would be The Light from Uncommon Stars, by Ryka Aoki, to skip that stone even farther. Her long-time answer to every bookseller’s oft-asked question, “What’s your favorite book?” is The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, but she reserves the right to pick something different at any moment. 

And just when you’re thinking she’s not very well rounded, she’ll invite you to behold her non-fiction collection, spanning four bookcases weighed down and piled high with all things food related. Hundreds of cookbooks and food writing titles, from science (Harold McGee) to nutrition (Andrew Weil) to culinary history (MFK Fisher, Elizabeth David, Anthony Bourdain, Michael Pollan) share space with form-and-function tools, including a cake stand, a fondue set, a tagine, a tiffin box, a copper hot pot, and a towering bamboo steamer. She can make a perfect jammy egg but still struggles to melt cheese.



In an old house in Philly that was on an incline

grew our social media manager - Madeline 

She loves Annie, Funny Girl, In the Heights,

and she is a fan of coffee, but with lots of ice

She is currently studying to be in the field of law 

(that process has not been a ball)


If you see something on social media that is not quite right

she will have it fixed before midnight.



Michael has lived all over the world, but of all the places he’s lived, he loves Knoxville the most. He has been a lifelong avid reader since he could crawl and a very geeky film buff since middle school. When not at Union Ave, he can be observed in the wild at such Knoxville hot spots as Central Cinema or Ijams Nature Center. He lives in the Fourth & Gill neighborhood with his wife Natasha and their cat Violet. 

Favorite books include (but are not limited to)
Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler
Collapse by Jared Diamond

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Fight Like Hell by Kim Kelly
The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Elder Race by Adrian Tchaikovsky


Thirty-five years later, she still enjoys selling books.



Leo is an Appalachian writer born and raised in Western North Carolina. He is especially interested in regional literature written by and about marginalized communities, especially LGBTQ+ people. When not at Union Ave, he is usually reading, writing, antiquing, and spending time with his partner. 

A few recommendations from Leo's shelf:

Lark Ascending by Silas House
F*ckface by Leah Hampton
Birds of Opulence by Crystal Wilkinson
Sleepovers by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips
Burning Bright by Ron Rash 
Tiny Love by Larry Brown
The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels 
Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby