Brandon bookstore turns a page
By RUSSELL JONES
BRANDON — The Book & Leaf store in Brandon may soon be transitioning toward a coop model.
Steve and Joanne Errick, who own Book & Leaf and live out-of-state, opened the store in May of 2014 and have reportedly enjoyed being able to spend weekends at their Brandon store when they could. But recent changes in their life have led them to sell the building.
“They are being very generous with the hopes of us keeping the store open by letting us use the bookshelves and some of the inventory,” store manager Barbara Ebling said.
Ownership of the building will transfer at the end of September and there will be a month-long transition period after that.
Ebling said they are speaking to the new owners now about potentially leasing the building to keep the bookstore open.
Having previously owned a bookstore in Brandon before, Ebling knows the ins and outs of the business, but due to family responsibilities and other endeavors she is not interested in owning another bookstore. She does consider it to be a valuable entity for the town, however, and is working with others to make sure it remains vibrant.
“A person’s relationship with a book you own makes it much different than a library and it’s very important for the town to have a bookstore,” Ebling said. “It’s a meeting place and a place to take your kids and show them how to pick out a book. Having lost a bookstore once, I think the people in town realize how important it is.”
A core group of 14, including Ebling, local artist B. Amore and Brandon’s economic development director Bill Moore, have gotten together to work out a plan for the future of Book and Leaf.
“It was a very positive meeting with great energy, the first meeting was two hours long and full of great ideas,” Moore said. “There is a lot of optimism and hope for the future of the bookstore.”
One of the plans looked into would be a CSB — community supported bookstore, much like Phoenix Books in Rutland. Community members could invest in the bookstore and recoup those investments over time in book credit at the store. This would help the store through the transition and allow it to remain open.
In fact, Ebling said they have a meeting scheduled soon with the owner of Phoenix Books, Mike DeSanto so he can advise them on how to proceed.
“We’re going to be looking into what it would take and determining shares as part of the plan,” Ebling said.
They are also looking into possibly transitioning into the coffee shop/bookstore model that is very popular around the country.
“The current owners and the new owners are open and willing to work with us,” Moore said. “There is enough support from the town and people who want it to succeed. There will be a bookstore of some kind; what that looks like is up to this group of people.”
Anyone interested in supporting the bookstore is encouraged to contact Barbara Ebling at the Book & Leaf at 802-465-8424 or email@example.com.