Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

||| |||

News & Features » July 2013 » Indie Bookstore Spotlight: Bank Square Books (Mystic, CT)

Indie Bookstore Spotlight: Bank Square Books (Mystic, CT)

Welcome to Akashic in Good Company, a weekly column highlighting some of the amazingly talented, hard-working, committed people Akashic has had the pleasure of working with over the past fifteen years. This week we are delighted to feature a virtual tour of an excellent indie bookstore in Connecticut: Bank Square Books!

BSB outside

The front entrance of Bank Square Books.

For 25 years, Bank Square Books has lived in the picturesque New England town of Mystic, Connecticut and remains the keystone of our community. On West Main Street, diagonal from the iconic Mystic Pizza (made famous by Julia Roberts), and down the street from the town’s very own operating drawbridge, we are locally-owned by Patience Banister and Annie Philbrick, and pride ourselves on being fiercely independent.

localauthors

Local authors book signing outside the store this summer.

Years ago the space was actually a gas station, making for an interesting building without a single 90-degree angle. Bookshelves wind around each curve and corner, resulting in a plethora of nooks and crannies. We have many tucked-away reading spots, perfect for curling up with a new book in one of our comfy armchairs.

booksbooksbooks

IMG_1058

The whale sculpture in front of the shop is a popular photo spot.

Our customers vary from the dedicated year-round locals committed to supporting their hometown indie bookstore to the enthusiastic summer tourists looking for the latest beach read or a forgotten summer reading assignment. We welcome them one and all, along with their dogs and ice cream cones. Our very own Charlie Four Paws Philbrick (Annie’s cocker spaniel) is eager to greet each visitor. You’ll find us by looking for the fiberglass whale statue just outside our front door. It was beautifully painted by local artist and children’s book illustrator Pamela Zagarenski.

charlie

Charlie, in his usual spot, eager to greet customers!

We are dedicated to building supportive community relationships which Hurricane Sandy re-enforced last fall. After taking on several inches of sea water, a strong relief effort solidified our bond with the community. Without power, the wet carpeting soon became dangerous to the precious books that line our shelves as the humidity in the store increased. We knew we had to get them out of here—and fast.  It was a harrowing couple of weeks, but the support of our customers was inspiring as they showed up to help in any way they could. We got back on our feet fast with a bright new floor and a brand new layout. We love our new look, but certainly would not have picked that path, had we been given the choice!

sandyhelpers

A few of the MANY volunteers who came to help us after Hurricane Sandy!

Our staff takes the honor of book selling seriously, and we are confident that our passion is evident by the feeling you get by just walking into Bank Square Books. There is a deep satisfaction in hearing a reader’s needs and matching them with the perfect book. Reading is such a personal interaction between the reader and the text. What better conversation starter exists than one over a well-loved book? Some of our favorite aspects of the store are the conversations created here, the new information explored, stories discovered, and debates sparked—all over books.shopindie

In the words of one of our dear customers, Janis Mink: “Poised on the corner of Water and Main Streets, Bank Square Books feels to me like the hinge of downtown Mystic, or maybe its heart. Or maybe Mystic’s knee, as Bank Square Books is a sensitive place that can move you, and deals in the reflexes of societies past and present. I consider myself lucky to live within walking distance of this wonderful store.”

4photos

Clockwise from upper left: (1) From the “Salvage the Bones” dinner at the Oyster Club, a local farm to table restaurant. (2) Hallie Ephron during an in store author luncheon. (3) Jesmyn Ward speaking during our first dinner at the Oyster Club (4) Kids reading on one of our couches last winter.

Posted: Jul 10, 2013

Category: Akashic in Good Company | Tags: , , ,



Featured: Music/Popular Culture/Art