In a time when independent book sellers are becoming as rare and silver coins, New Milford is about to see the closing of its only such store in the downtown, the Bank Street Book Nook.
Owner Janet Olsen Ryan this week announced her decision to close the store in the first quarter of the year, one she bought from Blanche Bailey seven years ago. At that time, the store was known as Baileywick Books.
Clearly, it is bittersweet, she admitted. She hopes it might be that another buyers will come forward to take over the operation before the lights close on the business permanently.
In a public announcement, Ryan said she reached the decision based on a desire to “pursue some of my other passions.”
She and her husband, Sean, have four growing children.
” I have been operating the store for close to 7 years and have really enjoyed being one of the many downtown New Milford merchants that have made downtown and Bank Street so unique,” Ryan wrote in her release. “Our space has been occupied as an independent bookstore for over 20 years as I took the store over from Blanche Bailey the former owner of Baileywick Books who operated as an independent bookstore for 14 years. Ideally, we would like to find someone to takeover the store so that New Milford will continue to have an independent bookstore as part of the downtown fabric.”
The closing of this store is quite bittersweet for me, too. I first met Ryan when I interviewed her as the new owner seven years ago. I then became a loyal customer _ I remember all too well standing in line at midnight dressed up in Harry Potter costumes for the popular J.K Rowlings tome. A year ago, I started working in the store on weekends; I loved the chance to talk books, literature, even newspapers, with customers, and help them find books that are some of my all-time favorites.
It’s a wonderful place, with wonderful staff, and a welcoming atmosphere, and lots and lots of great hardback and paperbooks, as well as gift items associated with the pursuit of literature. I mean, I can think of few better ways to spend a summer day than with a nice book and bottle of wine, and Ryan sells a variety of insulated wine bags that are just perfect for just such an occasion.
It will be a sad loss to the community if there is no longer a downtown book store. I hope a buyer will be found to keep up the long-time tradition.
Stay tuned for Susan Tuz’ upcoming business story.