April 23, 2012 - Mary Gay Shipley has announced that on Monday, February 27, she filed as a candidate for Arkansas State Representative District 55. Ms. Shipley is a native and current resident of Blytheville, best known as owner and operator of That Bookstore in Blytheville, a downtown retail store. She recently announced she would be retiring from the bookstore after 36 years. “I have always wanted to serve the public,” she stated. “I decided the time was right for me to step forward and do it. I have been a long-time fighter for the delta and it is important that we work in Little Rock to create every possible opportunity for our little corner of our state.”
Before opening the bookstore in 1976, Ms. Shipley was a teacher in local schools. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida Southern College and a MS in mathematics from Arkansas State
University. During her tenure at the bookstore, she has acquired a long list of honors, as well as attracting to Blytheville high-profile authors, celebrities and political figures such President Bill Clinton, First Lady Laura Bush, Condoleezza Rice, best-selling authors Pat Conroy and John Grisham, and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer. The store was named 1996 Arkansas Business of the Year, and was chosen as the Greater Blytheville Area Chamber of Commerce 2005 Small Business of Year. Ms. Shipley was recognized as U.S. Independent Bookseller of the Year in 1999 when she received the American Bookseller Association’s Haslem Award for Excellence in Bookselling; she received the 1999 Community Service Award by the KARK-TV and the Governor’s Arkansas
Division of Tourism; and in 1998, the Arkansas Community Foundation honored her with the Lugean Chilcote Award of Extraordinary Service. She was twice featured in the Arkansas Times’ 100 Most Powerful Women in Arkansas, the Democrat-Gazette selected her for their elite High Profile feature, and she was chosen as a 2005 Outstanding Businesswoman of Northeast Arkansas; In October 2006, she was again honored nationally with the James Patterson Page Turner Award and in 2008, she received the Greater Blytheville Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Community Achievement Award, in recognition for her community service.
Married to former educator Paul Shipley, Ms. marygayshipley
is a Paul Harris Fellow in the Blytheville Rotary Club, where she has also served as president; she has served as President of the Main Street Blytheville Board and the Mississippi County Community Foundation; as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Community Foundation; as Political Action chair and board member in the Greater Blytheville Area Chamber of Commerce; is a member of the prestigious Arkansas Women’s Forum; is a founder of PEO Chapter CI and a founding member of PEO Chapter DP.
Mary Gay Shipley