From September 15 – October 15, Bank Street Books, in New York City, celebrated 40 years of customer service and loyalty. The store's staff compiled a list of their top 40 favorite books, gave away prizes, and hosted several events, including visits by popular children authors Lemony Snicket, Jane O'Connor, Jerry Pickney, and Peter Sis.
The store, which is owned by the Bank Street College of Education, an institution specializing in Early Childhood Education, opened its doors in 1970 in the lobby of the college. Originally intended for the college’s faculty, staff, and students, as well as parents, Bank Street Books stocked mostly textbooks, in addition to a selection of children's books.
“As the popularity and potential grew, we realized that, if we were out in the public, there was certainly a place for us,” said Bank Street Books Director Beth Puffer, who currently serves on the ABA Board.
In 1990, the bookstore rented two floors in a building separate from the college. The move allowed Bank Street Books to gain community recognition and become more involved in neighborhood-wide events. Puffer credits the combination of the store’s excellent customer service and word of mouth for initially attracting new customers.
“Customers would have good experiences and then tell their friends,” she said. “Our business grew, our inventory grew, people in the neighborhood discovered us, and ultimately, our reputation grew.”
The past month’s anniversary celebration featured staff picks of the top 40 books from the past 40 years. All 40 books were discounted for the entire month. The store also held weekly raffles and several author events, which drew large crowds.
Bank Street Books, which now primarily carries children's books and educational toys, adheres to the belief that a book has a great impact on a child's life.
“We know we've had a definite influence,” Puffer said. “We're really a part of the community, and we've been able to see many children grow up. This is a celebration to really thank our customers for their loyalty.”