Rep and Two Others Open RiverRead Books
Penguin rep Connie Barnes, one of the owners of the new store RiverRead Books, writes:
RiverRead Books is a 1,600-sq.-ft. store on the banks of the Chenango River in Binghamton, N.Y. We are in a college community that has an abundance of authors, artists, musicians and playwrights as well as scientists, environmentalists, philosophers and of course, us plain folk. There are three owners--Patricia Hutchinson-Day, Jane Stuart-Andrus and Connie Barnes--all moms who met when our daughters were in middle school. Those girls (and all of our other children) have now graduated from college, and we have time to spend on the store. All three of us have been very active in the community for many years and wanted to embrace what we hope is a resurging downtown district. We each have our own area of book and business expertise and complement each other nicely. It took us a year to plan and design the store and the community has responded with many thank yous all day long.
We opened on October 3 with an author event and art exhibit. (We designed the store with plenty of gallery space so that we could feature a new artist every month during the community's First Friday gallery walk.) We offer our space to book groups, writing workshops, community groups and more. We will feature author events, book symposiums, literary, poetry and dramatic readings, family story hours and children's events. We will also have hobby groups. The store includes a lower level of the same square footage and we hope, by next year, to build an office and a large meeting room on that level.
Another thing that makes us stand out is that we tried to be as environmentally conscious as possible with our design and thinking. The library lights are all compact fluorescent, any track and can lights are on dimmers, etc. We rarely have to turn the furnace on because we have lots of wonderful sunlight and will be installing shades to draw after closing to hold the heat in. In addition, we will offer coffee, tea and cold drinks. We decided not to have any disposables so one of the partners, Jane, and her potter friends made 100 mugs for the store. We also wanted to encourage people to bring their own shopping bags. The first 100 readers who signed up for our loyalty program received a handmade cloth shopping bag with our logo sewn on. (The fabrics came from our sewing closets, and several people from the community volunteered to sew the bags). We also sell cloth bags from Envirosax. We rarely offer a paper bag, although we do have some (but never plastic!)
As in Danny Meyer's book, Setting the Table, we have done just that and the community is responding!