From The Belmontian:
The long sheets of paper have been taken from the windows, the shelves are almost all filled with books and while you will need to wait a little bit longer to get a cappuccino, the Town of Homes has seen the return of its very own bookstore as Belmont Books opened officially for browsers and bibliophiles on Friday morning, June 16.
“It has taken us five years to get to this point,” said Belmont resident Chris Abouzeid, who with his wife, Kathy Crowley, own the general bookstore.
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Abouzeid, who was a bookseller for Porter Square Books for many years, said it’s “basically scary” opening up a new store. “We’re new to retail, and we don’t make any pretense otherwise,” he said, noting they had plenty of help from friends in the business.
The two-floor store – large children’s and young adult sections upstairs – with its new bright interior at 75 Leonard St. is the second business to settle in the renovated Macy’s/Filene’s building following Foodies Urban Market by a month.
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“We knew this was a community that wanted a bookstore after fighting to try and keep the last one,” said Abouzeid referring to the Charlesbank Bookshop that closed in January 2010. “We wouldn’t have tried this if they community didn’t seem to care.”
And town residents have been eagerly anticipating the opening, many following the daily updates via Twitter and other social media sites.
“All we’ve heard for the last eight months is ‘when are you opening? when are you opening?’” said Abouzeid.
The opening came at an advantageous time as “[w]e really wanted to open this weekend because of Father’s Day and give people an opportunity to buy their summer reading before leaving town [the] schools closing,” said Abouzeid, who along with Crowley, is an author.
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“E-book sales have flattened, and folks are showing that they prefer to hold a real book and that includes young people that you might not expect. They are on electronic devices all day long, so a book is more relaxing.”
He also spoke of the environment of a book buying experience is heightened by searching for a new book in a store, especially in one that is new to the community.
“Just the colors, the feeling, the atmosphere. You can’t get that shopping online,” said Abouzeid. The staff, who will be making recommendations and emphasizing customer service, will also be a draw for shoppers.
Link to the rest at The Belmontian
PG wishes all new small businesses well. However, he can’t help but wonder whether if the oft-repeated Big Publishing myth that ebook sales have flattened harms the people who put their hard-earned capital into a new business based upon such erroneous information.