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‘A disappearing group’: Summerside’s last used bookstore closing its doors after 30 years



SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — As she wiped away tears, the proprietor of Seaside Bookshop defined that the cabinets filled with texts motivated her every single day.

When Nancy Quinn’s lease runs out on June 1, 4 and a half years of working Summerside’s solely used bookstore will come to an in depth.

“It’s heartbreaking,” she stated. “So, I’m simply gonna attempt to keep in mind the entire completely fantastic issues which have occurred to me and the way the bookshop carried me over the previous couple of years of issue, by the pandemic and every part else. And about all of the fantastic folks that touched my coronary heart and made me really feel that I used to be doing one thing beneficial.”

It wasn’t simply being surrounded by books of each style that delighted Quinn, however the individuals who walked by her Water Road enterprise’s doorways every single day.

If one have been to stroll into the store, returning patron or new, Quinn could be there to greet you with a smile and a “welcome.”

“One thing I’m actually gonna miss is that look that individuals get on their faces once they stroll in for the primary time,” stated Quinn. “They’re astounded and thrilled with the thought of a traditional-style downtown bookshop. We’re a disappearing group.”

In March, Quinn acquired an eviction discover from her landlord.

“I used to be shocked,” stated Quinn. “I felt like a deer within the headlights for a few week.”

Earlier than the shop turned Seaside Bookshop in September 2018, it existed as Avonlea Bookstore, operated by Richard Kays since 1997.

A used bookstore has existed at 240 Water Street in Summerside for almost 30 years. Come the end of May though, Seaside Bookshop will close its doors for the final time. – Kristin Gardiner/SaltWire
A used bookstore has existed at 240 Water Road in Summerside for nearly 30 years. Come the top of Might although, Seaside Bookshop will shut its doorways for the ultimate time. – Kristin Gardiner/SaltWire

Shopping for the shop, taking the reins and rebranding it was, for Quinn, a dream come true.

“What reader doesn’t all the time need to personal a bookshop?” Quinn laughed.

A loss for the group

For Meghan Skerry, who assisted Quinn for the final three years, Seaside Bookshop was greater than only a used bookstore – it was a group.

Skerry, a fellow bookworm, has visited the shop since she was a child when it was nonetheless Avonlea Bookstore. The enterprise was a staple of Summerside then, however Skerry stated Quinn turned it into one thing extra.

“She undoubtedly made it a group house,” stated Skerry.

“I used to be unhappy for Nancy and for the group and unhappy in my very own means as a result of that is form of my comfortable place.”

Experiencing frustrations

The day the eviction discover got here in, Quinn shuttered the store for a day and instantly started looking for a brand new place for her books to name residence.

She seemed for retail house all throughout the Island – even considering a spot exterior of the province – however after testing a dozen locations, none felt like the best match.

Whereas Quinn as soon as beloved her location, her emotions have shifted over time and she or he has grown annoyed with Downtown Summerside. She famous the excessive turnover of administrators and managers, lack of communication, lack of packages and out-of-date web site as a few of her frustrations.

“The irritating a part of that is that companies within the downtown core pay an extra tax which is meant to fund promotion for the affiliation,” stated Quinn. “I simply hope the brand new mayor will decide to his marketing campaign promise to revitalize the downtown. It’s not a vibrant place anymore and with out assist, even different longtime companies are leaving.”

Rose Dennis, planning and improvement govt with Downtown Summerside, stated that Quinn’s info is outdated, as not all Downtown Summerside’s newer actions have superior to the purpose the place they’ve been publicized.

Since turning into aligned with town and Discover Summerside a few years in the past, stated Dennis, the group has labored to revitalize downtown – together with implementing elements of the Summerside City Core Plan.

By the end of May, Seaside Bookshop, Summerside's only used bookshop, will be closing its doors. For owner Nancy Quinn, the decision to move on was a heartbreaking one. – Kristin Gardiner/SaltWire
By the top of Might, Seaside Bookshop, Summerside’s solely used bookshop, will probably be closing its doorways. For proprietor Nancy Quinn, the choice to maneuver on was a heartbreaking one. – Kristin Gardiner/SaltWire

It has additionally been working with different teams – comparable to town itself, the Chamber of Commerce, Discover Summerside and the Summerside Port Company to handle the considerations of downtown enterprise house owners.

Dennis added that downtowns usually have struggled – not simply Summerside – with the expansion of massive field shops. In response, the group has been engaged on incentivize newcomers and new companies to decide on Summerside.

“We’re very very lively working with ACOA as properly and our provincial entities to make it possible for Summerside, and particularly the downtown, are getting the eye it so badly wants and deserves,” she stated.

Transferring on

When she introduced the eviction on her Twitter web page, Quinn was overwhelmed by assist. A lot of her followers who wished for the shop to reside on despatched well-wishes requested how they might assist and pitched options for a brand new retail house.

“I’ve a giant Twitter following,” Quinn laughed. “And a beautiful assist of fantastic Twitter followers.”

Forward of closure, Quinn plans to have a sale, hoping to search out new properties for her inventory; beginning Monday, April 17, every part within the retailer will probably be 50 per cent off.

“This bookshop has supplied quite a bit to the group … It retains books out of the landfill, it’s a good way to recycle info and data and tales and historical past.” – Nancy Quinn

One other 500 of her books have been cherry-picked to assist Skerry begin her personal used bookstore, Daisy Mae Books, in Kensington; for Skerry, it’s a “bittersweet” feeling, understanding {that a} small a part of Quinn’s retailer will reside on.

As soon as her retailer concludes its ultimate chapter, Quinn intends to depart the province; she has no concrete plans or imaginative and prescient for one more used bookstore sooner or later.

Nonetheless, she hopes that her time at Seaside Bookshop introduced one thing beneficial to Islanders and vacationers alike.

“This bookshop has supplied quite a bit to the group,” she stated. “It retains books out of the landfill, it’s a good way to recycle info and data and tales and historical past.”

Kristin Gardiner is a reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. She might be reached by e-mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @KristinGardiner.

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