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Mustard Seed Bookstore to Open in Maine

On February 16, The Mustard Seed Bookstore will open its doors in Bath, Maine, the Times Record reported. Owners Mike and Julie Shea are purchasing the inventory and fixtures of the nearby Bath Book Shop, owned by Connie Buston, who is retiring. “We are so thankful that the community is behind us in keeping an independent bookstore in Bath,” said Julie Shea.

Mustard Seed will feature books on Maine and New England, history, sports, travel, sustainable living, and faith, in addition to fiction, classics, children’s and young adult titles, and poetry. Non-book items will include gifts, music, stationery, wrapping paper, and greeting cards.

The store will carry teas and baked goods from Starlight Café and will offer free Wi-Fi.

City Stacks Books and Coffee Open for Business in Denver

Denver, Colorado’s City Stacks Books and Coffee opened its doors in December with father-and-son owners Kevin and Ben Gillies at the helm, reported Denver Westword.

With the goal of creating a neighborhood coffeehouse, the Gillies are stocking the store with books for city-dwellers as well as locally sourced treats, like coffee from Corvus Coffee, pastries from Cake Crumbs Bakery, and chocolate from Ritual. Novelty items from local businesses will include Rolli Stamps from Funnybone Toys.

University Book Store Celebrates 115 Years

University Book Store in Seattle, Washington, turned 115 on Saturday, January 10, reported the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. A two-day party at each of the store’s nine locations offered customers 25 percent discounts, giveaways, and treats. The business, which started in a cloakroom at the whim of two students, is now the oldest and largest independent bookstore in the state.

University Book Store also used its birthday as an opportunity to introduce Ubie, the bookstore’s ambassador, reported University of Washington’s The Daily. The character has existed for quite some time, appearing next to the bookstore’s name on signs and logos, but only just took physical form as a person dressed in purple and white, the university’s colors, and wearing a three-dimensional Ubie mask.

Missouri’s Well Read Books Relocates

Well Read Books in Fulton, Missouri, is moving to 530 Court Street, across the street from its current location, and will reopen on Friday, January 16, with extended hours, reported the Fulton Sun.

Owner Brian Warren said that friends, family, customers, and community members are helping the store with its move. “Everybody has experience with moving books whenever they have to move their own library at home,” he told the Sun. “When people find out that we’re moving, there’s just this wave of sympathy that I can feel come across their face.”

Warren had been on the lookout for a traditional downtown storefront with more visibility. The new space has a retail window for displays and an old-fashioned tin ceiling, as well as newly painted walls and a refinished floor. Warren is also planning to add a courtyard behind the store.

The new, smaller location suits the bookstore’s inventory better, said Warren, but will require some creativity when hosting events. The one-level space will also allow the store to be more consolidated and profitable, and easier to manage.

Explore Booksellers Approved for Sale

A Texas bankruptcy court has approved the sale of Explore Booksellers in Aspen, Colorado, to Public Interest Network, a consortium of national nonprofit organizations that fight for environmental, social justice, and consumer protection. The sale of the store for $5 million in cash is expected to close on January 16.

Samuel Wyly, who owns the store through Explore Booksellers and Bistro Real Estate LLC, filed for bankruptcy after a federal court found in May that he and his late brother, Charles Wyly, were guilty of offshore stock-trading fraud.

Profits from the sale will be used to pay back the Securities and Exchange Commission and other creditors, Bloomberg reported.

Vermont’s Bear Pond Books, Rivendell to Merge

In downtown Montpelier, Vermont, Bear Pond Books and Rivendell Books will merge this spring, reported the Waterbury Record. Both bookstores are owned by Claire Benedict and her husband, Rob Kasow.

“The business of bookselling is changing,” said Benedict. “We needed to make decisions that ensure we can continue to have a strong, independent bookstore presence in downtown Montpelier. In this case, that means being able to offer more choice in one location.”

Bear Pond Books, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, will absorb Rivendell’s inventory, including used, out-of-print, and hard-to-find books. The merger will begin in March.

Quest Bookshop’s Kay Allison Looks to Retire

Charlottesville, Virginia’s Quest Bookshop owner Kay Allison opened the store in 1978 and is now, at age 83, looking to retire. In addition to her work at the bookstore, Allison began the Books Behind Bars program to give books and dictionaries to inmates in the Virginia prison system, as well as the Quest Institute, which explores spiritual and holistic wellness.

Quest Bookshop was put up for sale in August but has not yet found a buyer; the store is set to close January 28. The bookstore focuses on spiritual and metaphysical books related to human existence, as well as minerals, crystals, cards, jewelry, and meditation supplies.

In order to assist with Allison’s retirement — and in an effort to keep the bookstore’s doors open — Quest has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $150,000.

Point Reyes to Host Geography of Hope Literary Conference

On March 13-15, Point Reyes Books in Point Reyes Station, California, will be hosting the Geography of Hope literary conference, which will feature authors whose writing focuses on the urgency of the environment. This year’s topic is “Mapping a New Geography of Hope: Women and the Land.”

The conference, now in its fifth year, will be co-chaired by authors Robin Wall Kimmerer and Kathleen Dean Moore. The three-day event features 16 authors, readings, discussions, and activities.

The name of the conference comes from Wallace Stegner’s “Wilderness Letter” to Congress regarding the 1964 Wilderness Act, in which he described a wild landscape as a “geography of hope.”