25 ABA Member Stores Open in 2010

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Twenty-five* ABA member bookstores opened in 2010, with several filling voids left by the closing of chain stores. The openings, and neighborhood response, suggest growing support for locally owned businesses, along with continued support for bricks-and-mortar stores. Some of the new stores are branches of existing businesses, and others offer an interesting twist on the traditional business model – Blue Phoenix Books shares a space with another business, and Hub City Books is a nonprofit that grew out of a press. All of the stores have been welcomed by their communities.

“The great thing about this first year is that every day is a record day,” said Bill Skees, owner of Well Read in Hawthorne, New Jersey. “I hear almost daily, ‘I can’t believe that Hawthorne has its own bookstore!’”

Skees opened Well Read in November and hosted a grand opening celebration the weekend before Thanksgiving.

His aim is to make the 2,500-square-foot general bookstore an integral part of Hawthorne. “We plan on carrying a complementary set of sidelines, and we are constantly looking for things that can help make us a destination,” said Skees. “We carry greeting cards, magazines, and our own blend of coffee. We have several comfortable seating areas, offer complimentary coffee and tea, and have free WiFi. Our goal is to become a community gathering place.”

Since Hub City Bookshop opened in June in Spartanburg, South Carolina, “it has been going extremely well,” said Erin Haire. “We are Spartanburg’s only independent bookstore, so folks are very happy about that. We exceeded our 12-month sales goal in our first six months, and that is due in large part to the community response.”

The bookshop grew out of the nonprofit Hub City Writers Project and Hub City Press, which have been in existence since 1995. The two groups decided to open a retail space to sell Hub City titles and to provide Spartanburg with an indie bookstore. Following a fund-raising campaign, they renovated a building in downtown Spartanburg that had been vacant for several years. Hub City Bookshop is a 501(c)(3) certified nonprofit, whose profits fund the literary arts organization and the not-for-profit press.

The 1,500-square-foot general bookstore focuses on literary fiction and regional titles. The offices of the press are in the back of the store. “We stock all of the Hub City titles in the store,” said Haire, “and since I have a philosophy background, we probably have the best stocked philosophy section for miles.”

Blue Phoenix Books, which opened in May 2010 in Alpena, Michigan, “received a great welcome from the community” and “exceeded Christmas-time projections by 50 percent!” said owner Kim Krajniak. To ensure that customers keep coming back, Blue Phoenix hosts writers groups and contests, children’s story hours, and local author appearances. “Additionally, we run fund-raisers for local mission groups, veterans groups, the humane society, and the woman’s shelter to give back to our community,” Krajniak said. “Overall, Alpena is happy to have a bookstore again!  I still have many of my e-reader customers come in to buy [print] books ...so that is hopeful.”

Similar to several other booksellers, Krajniak decided to open an indie when her local chain closed. “I had heard about the closing in October 2009 and made the decision to try my dream of owning a bookstore. Aside from being an avid reader, I had run Boys & Girls Clubs for the past 11 years. Nonprofit management had given me loads of experience, so now I’m translating that to the for-profit side.”

Blue Phoenix occupies 1,650 square feet of a larger space that is shared with a stained glass store.  “We are like a mini-mall,” Krajniak said. “We have separate areas and inner doors, but have one front door. Our tagline is ‘Two Great Destinations, One Front Door,’ and it has benefited us greatly by combining advertising and some clientele.”

Books & Books Westhampton Beach opened in July in a 2,100-square-foot space on Main Street in the resort community of Westhampton Beach, New York. Before signing their lease, the store’s owners, longtime publishing and marketing executives Denise Berthiaume and Jack McKeown, reached out to form a marketing and branding affiliation with Florida’s Books & Books, owned by Mitchell Kaplan. For the design of their store, Berthiaume and McKeown hired the same architect behind several of other Books & Books locations, and they rely on Kaplan and his staff for guidance on a range of issues, including strategic and operational matters, marketing and promotions, website development, and events.

Books & Books Westhampton stocks about 15,000 volumes, with an emphasis on contemporary fiction and nonfiction, art and photography, architecture and design, cooking and wine, local titles, and children’s lit. In its first season, Books & Books offered a full roster of events both in-store and offsite and hosted more than 30 authors, including Martin Amis, Alan Furst, Gay Talese, and Karl Marlantes.

Despite media and industry buzz about e-books and struggling chain stores, Berthiaume and McKeown were convinced by their own Verso Advertising Survey data that “an independent bookstore revival lay right around the corner,” McKeown told BTW. “After many years on the publishing and marketing side of the industry, we decided to put our money where our heart was!”

With the advent of the Indie Commerce Google eBooks™ solution, the staff at Books & Books Westhampton has been spreading the message about the availability of e-books via the store’s website. While the market in Westhampton remains decidedly focused on print, Books & Books has heard from a small minority of customers that they are interested in ordering from their local indie. In late March, Books & Books Westhampton will launch a retooled website and use Verso’s Digital Network and vertical Reader ChannelsTM to spread the e-book message throughout the market area.

ABA Member Stores Opening in 2010

Ada’s Technical Books
713 Broadway E.
Seattle, WA 98102-4607
(206) 322-1058

Alamosa Books
8810 Holly Avenue NE
Albuquerque, NM 87122-2963
(505) 797-7101

Auntie’s at the Square
808 W. Main Avenue, Suite 253
Spokane, WA 99201-5020
(509) 456-4775
(Branch store)

Barbara’s Bookstore
810 Village Center Drive
Burr Ridge, IL 60527-4519
(630) 920-1500
(Branch store)

Blue Door Books
501A Central Avenue
Cedarhurst, NY 11516-2010
(516) 658-5949

Blue Phoenix Books
106 N. 2nd Avenue
Alpena, MI 49707-2802
(989) 278-4020

Books & Books Westhampton Beach
130 Main Street
Westhampton Beach, NY 11978-2630
(631) 998-3260

Books and Breadboard
30 All Souls Crescent
Asheville, NC 28803-2670
(828) 505-8233

Illinois Centre Mall
3000 W. DeYoung Street, Suite 232
Marion, IL 62959-4893
(618) 997-3790
(Branch store)

Boulevard Books & Cafe
7518 13th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11228-2410
(718) 680-5881

The Corner Bookstore
220 CNN Center
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 525-3939

Escape Again Bookstore
608 W. Calton Road
Laredo, TX 78041-3505
(956) 568-1609

Hub City Bookshop
186 W. Main Street
Spartanburg, SC 29306-2333
(864) 577-9349

Laredo Books & More
Laredo Public Library, 2nd Floor
1120 E. Calton Road
Laredo, TX 78041-7328
(956) 334-9056

Main Street Book Company
120A E. Main Street
Front Royal, VA 22630-3337
(540) 631-7223

Namaste Book Shop
2 W. 14th Street
New York, NY 10011-7517
(212) 645-0141

Off the Beaten Path Books and Cafe
23023 Orchard Lake Road, Suite C
Farmington, MI 48336-3267
(248) 987-2934

Once Upon a Time on the Square
401 Town Square Road
Copperopolis, CA 95228-9245
(209) 785-6828

One More Page Books
2200 N. Westmoreland Street, Suite 101
Arlington, VA 22213-1045
(703) 300-9746

The Page Turner
490 W. 238th Street
Bronx, NY 10463-2048
(646) 327-1903

pages: a bookstore
904 Manhattan Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266-5538
(310) 318-0900

Pages of the Past
10 York Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325-2301
(717) 334-0572

Spring Street Bookstore
42 Spring Street
Newport, RI 02840-2979
(401) 619-3323

Well Read
425 Lafayette Avenue
Hawthorne, NJ 07506-2516
(973) 949-3440

Woni’s Bookshelf
140 Hull Road, Suite 2
Sumiton, AL 35148-4317
(205) 648-6161

*When this story was published on February 24, Reading Frenzy Bookshop, which opened in Zimmerman, Minnesota, in September was inadvertently left off the list. With this late addition, the number of ABA member stores opening in 2010 is actually 26. (Read an earlier BTW profile of Reading Frenzy Bookshop.)

Reading Frenzy Bookshop
12530 Fremont Ave. #200
Zimmerman, MN 55398
(763) 856-3736