Story & Song Opens on Florida’s Amelia Island
Story & Song Neighborhood Bookstore Bistro in Fernandina Beach, Florida, opened its doors over the weekend, with the first official day of business on Monday.
Owned by Mark and Donna Paz Kaufman of the bookstore training group Paz & Associates, Story & Song is designed to “illustrate the best practices of the business of bookselling.”
Located in a two-story building on Amelia Island, the first floor includes a 2,400-square-foot bookstore and bistro. The second floor, dubbed the Second Story for Arts & Creativity, is destined for programs and performances, story times, and discussions.
On Facebook, Donna Paz Kaufman has been giving future customers glimpses of the construction process and shared the most recent photos of supporters stopping in for coffee and wine this past weekend.
“After the humongous task of receiving and merchandising product and then training staff, we are thrilled to quietly open our doors to an appreciative community of Amelia Island residents and visitors,” she told Bookselling This Week.
The connection with customers is already exciting. “We’ve loved catching the adjectives: beautiful, happy, cheerful,” Kaufman said. “One three-year-old who came with her grandparents for story time asked, ‘Is this a library?’ It was clear by the look on her face that she’d never had this kind of experience. I asked her what words she’d use to describe the bookshop and she replied, ‘home’ and ‘library.’ Best of all, we loved the customer who stayed until closing and upon departing commented, ‘Congratulations, you’ve hit this out of the park!’”
Kaufman said the soft opening has been a chance for trouble-shooting and learning. “What is clear is that there is an unmet demand for books, greeting cards, toys that tie into picture books, and unique gift items in our community,” she said. “We don’t think this is a unique circumstance in this world of online shopping and corporate chains. People are craving connection, meaning, and a special local sense of place.”
Midtown Reader Welcomes Lucy & Leo’s Cupcakery
The Tallahasee Democrat newspaper profiled the expansion and the opening of Lucy & Leo’s in the space. The cupcake store gained national fame after an appearance on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars in 2011, the newspaper reported.
Lucy & Leo’s owners, Jean Bates and Paula Lucas, were looking for a new location last fall when Midtown Reader owner Sally Bradshaw asked them to become the focus of a new café and seating area in her newly expanded store, the newspaper reported. “They were the perfect complement to our attempt to become more of a community center, more of a gathering place. They were our first choice,” Bradshaw told the newspaper.
Midtown Reader, which opened in November 2016, is a general-interest bookstore with a regular schedule of literary events.
Book Shop of Beverly Farms Notches 50 Years of Bookselling
The Book Shop of Beverly Farms in Beverly, Massachusetts, which opened in February 1968, is celebrating its 50th year in business. The bookstore is located in a village on Boston’s North Shore. “We are in a small town about two blocks from the ocean. It’s a sweet clapboard building,” said co-owner Pamela Price, who purchased the bookstore with Lee Simonds Brown in April 1997.
Price attributes the shop’s longevity to its connection to the community. “We have wonderful, enduring relationships with four generations of local readers,” Price told Bookselling This Week. “We have ties to the schools and other nonprofits. We do a lot of school book fairs. It has created lasting friendships with the community. It’s a small town, so we feel very fortunate to endure in the face of so much stiff competition. A lot of people find it very refreshing to walk into a neighborhood bookstore.”
Price said education and support from the American Booksellers Association and her regional association, the New England Independent Booksellers Association (NEIBA), has been vital to the store’s success over the years. “We have the ABA guidelines from the month we opened right here. They are kind of yellowed, but we stick to those guidelines and they have helped us through the years,” Price said. “Our trade organizations mean a lot to us. I’m really inspired by our trade shows.”
Both Price and Brown worked in the bookstore before purchasing it from its second owner, Laurence Brengle, who purchased it from founders Nancy Hewson, Mary Perkins, and Mimi Adams.
“My bookshop partner and I worked here for a number of years, and when our predecessor decided to retire, we decided this was something worth keeping going for the community, and we’ve gotten a lot of support ever since,” she said. “Between us, we’ve worked here for 65 years.”
Those years include plentiful memories. “For a long time, we were John Updike’s local bookstore, and we did a lot with his collectors. His being here was a big part of life here. He would come in with each new book, and since he published a new book frequently, that was an honor for us,” Price said.
The owners are looking to throw a celebration party in April. “It’s too cold to plan now, but we know it’s going to involve margaritas,” Price said. “I’m downplaying that. That’s just the icing on the cake. The big deal is marking this milestone.”
Lift Bridge Book Shop Shifts Ownership
Lift Bridge Book Shop of Brockport, New York, which opened in 1972, will be owned by John and Sarah Bonczyk after current co-owner Cody Steffen sells his share of the store.
Steffen and John Bonczyk bought the store from original owners Pat and Archie Kutz in 2014. A 2015 article in the Democrat & Chronicle profiled the millennial booksellers, who both worked at the store in their younger days.
In a post on Facebook, Steffen reminisced about good times at Lift Bridge, where he met his wife, and told customers the bookstore is in “good hands going forward.”
One More Page Books’ Teen Book Festival Returning
One More Page Books of Arlington, Virginia, will co-host the Fifth Annual NoVa Teen Book Festival on March 10 in partnership with public libraries, school systems, and nonprofits in the Northern Virginia area.
The event, which is expected to draw 40 authors of young adult fiction, will be held at the Washington-Lee High School in Arlington.
One More Page owner Eileen McGervey said that last year more than 650 young adult readers attended the free festival, which includes author panels, games, and break-out sessions.
The keynote speaker will be Anna-Marie McLemore, author of The Weight of Feathers, When the Moon Was Ours (both published by A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin’s Griffin), and, most recently, Wild Beauty (Feiwel & Friends).
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