|Farley's Bookshop, New Hope, PA|
As I travel this great country visiting bookstores, I discover many unknown (to me) tourist areas that I never knew existed. Such is the case with New Hope, PA. The population here is approximately 2500 and on the July weekday of my visit, this town was hopping. Local businesses and eateries everywhere, a gridlock of traffic, and a crush of pedestrians. Is it any wonder that there is a successful, long-running bookstore here? It certainly isn't surprising to me, especially after hearing some of the remarkable Farley's Bookshop story from Julian K., the fine store manager.
It was my good fortune to visit Farley's during the week of its 50th anniversary. Mike and Nancy Farley, bought this business and began a run that extends to this day. They're no longer living but the store and building are still owned by the family, a great advantage for the business. The Farleys were close to author James Michener and Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers), both of whom were instrumental in their support of the store's beginnings. But the store's roots extend back before the Farleys bought the business when it was the Delaware Bookshop back in the 1940s.
So how have they survived and sustained through all the challenges? Julian's answers were very obvious. The community is very literary and artistic, making Farley's an important store to the local customers. Their biggest months by far are May-September, something very apparent to me on the day of my visit with all the tourists. I think they have an excellent location in a corner building on the main street through town and are surrounded by many other businesses. Another great factor is that they have a cooperative partnership with some of the schools and are able to do book fairs in the buildings. I wish all SCHOOLS would understand the importance of partnering with their local indie.
The store offers new and used books along with a few sidelines. Customers receive store credit for their used books but Julian told me many of their used books are brought in simply as donations. They don't have their used books on an inventory but they can point you to the right shelf if they have it. Book collectors can also find vintage books here. Farley's is a large, one-level with lots of different spaces and nooks within the store. You'll also find some CDs, music on vinyl, and a very nice children's section. I had a great time meeting Julian and getting to talk to him. He took a lot of time to tell me about the store and its history and I'm so appreciative when I get to do this with owners and staffers.
Now you have LOTS of reasons to visit this wonderful little town near Philadelphia. And for the non-readers in your group, they'll find plenty to do while you spend your time in this terrific and legendary independent bookstore. Go to an indie and buy a book. Bonsoir.
JUST FINISHED: Survivor's Club, Michael Bernstein & Debbie Bernstein Holinstat. Author's memoir of how he survived Auschwitz as a 4-year old boy. An absolutely incredible story, as these all are, and thoroughly researched. The author is still living today. Recommended.
CURRENTLY READING: The Risen, Ron Rash.
|Another wonderful exterior view.|
|Happy birthday and best wishes for another 50!|
|View looking to the right from the front entrance. You'll find a few of the greeting cards here.|
|Looking straight into the store from the front entrance. This picture doesn't truly show how big the store is. Prolific readers may recognize the celebrity in the pink. Yes, that's my mom.|
|Some more of the sidelines including boxed greeting cards and notebooks.|
|A relevant display for our times.|
|As you walk through the store, you'll see this room on the right.|
|Another room of books.|
|Always check out the staff picks in a bookstore.|
|You'll find some of the vintage books in this display case.|
|If you know a Balzac fan, send them here.|
|One of the many long aisles of books.|
|Kids will enjoy finding a line of Melissa and Doug items in the store.|
|Looking into a portion of the children's section.|
|View looking from the back of the store toward the front. You'll have to wind your way through a lot of books to get there!|
|A partial view of the bargain room.|
|Adult coloring books are still in.|
|Grab a seat and try a book.|
|With Julian on the left, the fine store manager at Farley's Bookshop. Thanks for a great visit.|