The first incarnation of the Last Bookstore opened on Christmas 2009 in a small space on 4th and Main streets; it's now the restaurant Baco Mercat.
What propelled Spencer to expand the store to its current location when the rest of the book publishing industry was seemingly imploding?
"I'm no businessman," Spencer says with a laugh. "I think in terms of story."
The narrative in his head was rich. Spencer spent nights in the empty would-be bookstore, staring at its 25-foot-high ceiling and mosaic tile floor, imagining what he might build there.
"I'd sit for hours and feel the room. The pillars, the space, it made me think of Indiana Jones as a professor, a 1920s university lecture hall," he says. "Also, the movies 'Hellboy,' 'The Rocketeer,' 'Dark City' — that inspired the steampunk, neo-Victorian palette."
In an ironic twist, Spencer was able to buy inexpensive shelving, books and other fixtures from local Borders bookstores when the chain shut down.