You may recognize his name:
Monroe is half of the brother-and-brother team that ran the landmark bookstore, known for its towering stacks of books, before closing earlier this month. As it turns out, he's been smoothing the way for the next generation of booksellers at
Kent, an estate-planning attorney, and her husband, Gibson, an information technology manager for the
"I jumped right on that," she said. "I just love books. I could live in a library or a bookstore if you just threw me a sandwich."
Kent said the store, which isn't far from her office on
Running the store will be a family affair, with Kent's daughter-in-law helping with day-to-day operations and an aunt providing retail business advice. One of their priorities, Kent said, will be continuing with "what Ted had done right for the past couple decades."
By the way, Monroe didn't just give advice -- he also took Kent on a book-buying expedition to a
Despite Monroe's help, Kent was quick to emphasize the new bookstore is going to be a wholly different animal than the old one. There will still be a wide selection and discounted prices, but there will also be an emphasis on comfort, cleanliness and not feeling claustrophobic.
"It was really crowded ... 'book Jenga' is what people described it as," she said of
The renovations will bring central heating and air-conditioning to the store for the first time, and will accentuate the building's interior brickwork. Kent said the space is "larger than you think," and that a fireplace had recently been discovered during the work.
"It was behind three layers of books," she said.
In buying the business, Kent and her husband also bought all of its books. Right now they're in storage, but Kent plans to bring them back to the store once renovations are complete -- and "not pile them up to the ceiling like they were before."
Independent bookstores have never had an easy time of it, and the rise of chain booksellers and online marketplaces has only stiffened the competition. Derby Square wasn't the only independent bookstore to close in the past several years --
Nevertheless, Kent said she is confident that a warm, inviting space where a reader might encounter the "serendipity of finding just the right book" would always trump the impersonal experience of, say, downloading one from home.
"The analogy I make is going out to dinner," Kent said. "There are a lot of people who have food in their kitchen but would choose to go out to dinner."
The reason is that people like to try different foods and enjoy the possibility of coming across something unexpected, she said.
"That's what book-browsing is. We provide an experience you're not going to get clicking online. ... There are some people who just have to have a book in their hands."
And a city like
"Call me crazy, but I'm really excited," Kent said. "I'm hoping that our little store becomes a hub for the community."
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