MANCHESTER >> A lot has changed in the book industry since 1976 when the Northshire Bookstore first opened, but 40 years later, a celebration will prove that some things haven't changed.
On Sept. 9, 10 and 11 the store invites the public to experience, fun, food and activities for all ages.
Vermont comedian Michael Kingsbury will put on a show Friday night, authors Wendy Walker and Richard Russo will be signing books on Saturday and various games, giveaways and story times are in store for kids on Sunday.
That weekend is also the store's Readers Rewards Member Appreciation Sale Weekend, where everything is 20 percent off for members. Additionally, visitors will receive a scratch off ticket on Saturday and Sunday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. for a chance to get a 20 to 40 percent discount off purchases.
The physical presence of the bookstore has done nothing but expand since its inception. In the 1970s it was housed in the building that is now home to the Berkshire Bank in Manchester Center. Barbara and Ed Morrow lived with their two sons below the store. Eventually the bottom floor was transformed into an all-children's' section, son, manager and current owner Chris Morrow said.
In the mid 1980s The Colburn House, an inn, went out of business after almost a century and the Morrows bought it, which is where the bookstore sits today. It was 5,000 square feet and the family lived on the third floor of the business. In 2003 they added a new building and the Spiral Press Cafe came into what used to be The Next Chapter; a room to sell used books. The two additions doubled the bookstore's size and added an entire floor for the kids' section.
In 2013 folks in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. recruited Northshire to open a store there after Borders Books went out of business.
"The industry has changed a lot and for a long time with [chain bookstores]," Morrow said. "In the 80s and 90s it was a concern. With the advent of the internet [and electronic books], there was a big shift in the industry and we didn't know how it would go. There was a 30 percent decline last year. And, of course the 2008 recession."
In its early days, the bookstore sold LPs (Long Play, vinyl record) but since has explored trinkets and gifts, accessories and a wide variety of book genres. Morrow added that the author visits have been popular as well.
He said it comes down to delivering the best service, selection and ambiance.
"It resonated with people and created a genuine experience," he said in regards to people favoring books over ebooks. "You can't get it online. We continue to focus on being unique and serve the greater Manchester community."
The partnership with the cafe was a "great addition," Morrow said.
"It's very synergistic. We play off each other. It's designed to feel seamless," he said.
Festivities for the anniversary weekend kick-off on Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. include local watercolor artist Lynn Pratt, followed by the comedy show at 7 p.m. accompanied by a cash bar provided by The Perfect Wife Restaurant and Tavern. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, local vendors will set up shop around the store sampling products such as sausage, craft beer, cheese and sweets. From 1 to 3 p.m. Wendy Walker will do a meet and greet and signing of her latest psychological mystery "All is Not Forgotten." From 5 to 6 p.m., Adam Centamore will speak on his book "Tasting Wine and Cheese" and offer samples. To finish off the day, author Richard Russo will speak on his newest work, "Everybody's Fool." Sept. 11 concludes the celebration with a children's festival of crafts, story telling, book trivia and more.
For more information, visit northshire.com.
Contact Makayla-Courtney McGeeney at 802-490-6471.