Books and giving back to the community are two things Janet Geddis, owner of Avid Bookshop, has a love for. Despite some of the challenges she faces in her daily life, Geddis has proven herself to be a jack of all trades — an entrepreneur, an essayist and a public speaker, to name a few.
In October, Georgia Trend Magazine recognized her as one of the winners of its 2018 “40 Under 40” awards. Georgia Trend has held this annual recognition of Georgia’s brightest young professionals for 22 years now, with the winners having careers anywhere from business and government to education and professional sports. This year, Geddis was nominated by a former employee of hers to be recognized, and Georgia Trend decided she fit the “best and brightest” category.
Geddis opened Avid Bookshop on Prince Avenue in October 2011 and opened a second location in Five Points five years later.
With the combined love for giving back to her community and books, Geddis decided a community bookstore was the perfect solution. She said she felt Avid Bookshop “could fill a void in Athens” since the only other community bookstore in Athens at the time was a used bookstore.
“She has single-handedly opened a thriving independent business, which is amazing,” said Avid’s communications director Rachel Watkins, who has worked there since its opening. “Not only is she the face of Avid, but she speaks about entrepreneurial female leadership, and she’s an advocate for migraine disease. She wears a lot of hats. I very much admire her ability to juggle many balls.”
Though Watkins wasn’t the one who nominated her, working alongside Geddis is a special experience.
“I really wanted, on a personal level, to come up with a career where I can focus on all of my assets and strengths and have a job that I look forward to going to every day,” Geddis said. “But it was also very important to me to have it be service oriented, because I’m very much into volunteering and giving back to the community and to people in need.”
Geddis completed her undergraduate education at New York University and earned her bachelor’s degree in English and American literature. She completed her master’s degree in gifted and creative education at the University of Georgia. Due to her fondness of the Athens area, she decided to stay.
Geddis said upon finding out she was chosen for the award, she was shocked.
“So it is kind of a mystery [why I was nominated],” Geddis said. “Another employee had nominated me for the UGA alumni 40 Under 40 and I didn’t make that list, so I didn’t think it was in the cards for me to win an even bigger, statewide award.”