Thursday, June 17, 2021

Book Ends - Winchester, MA

Book Ends, Winchester, MA

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Regular readers of this blog know my obsession with bookstore dogs and cats.  When I meet them, I'm usually distracted for most of my visit and I love them all.  I take entirely too many pictures of these cuties, certainly far many more than I can use.  But there haven't been many buildings that have grabbed me the same way like this beauty in Winchester and home to Book Ends.  About all I know is that it's part of the Brown & Stanton Block, founded in 1879.  Jill and Peggy, the booksellers I met, were unsure about the building's history but I found its historical uniqueness to be very attractive.  So, like the wonderful bookstore pets I've met, I took way too many pictures.

This indie is a good example to all you newbies to hang in there and persevere through all the challenges.  Current owner Judy M. has been here for 28 years and the business has been around for longer than that.  Like many other businesses, Book Ends succeeded through the pandemic thanks to a surge in on-line orders.  Now that the store is open for browsing, that's trailed off a little bit.  As Jill told me, those online orders were vital but she missed that in-store interaction with customers.  No doubt, other booksellers feel the same.

When you visit here, you'll find all new books and a wide variety of sidelines that are critical for the business.  Bookstore socks, puzzles, candles, and journals to name just a few.  The choices of greeting cards are terrific thanks to Peggy.  Make sure when you visit to bring the kids.  They have a whole room to themselves and it is outstanding.

I think the best thing here for Book Ends is its outstanding location.  A historical building surrounded by brick sidewalks at ground zero of downtown Winchester.  There are many small local businesses in near proximity including, cafes, boutique stores for women, and more.  Foot traffic is everywhere and things will become even more vibrant in this area as the pandemic continues to subside.  There's also a rail commuter station within a block.  Perfect.

Yes, I've raved about the building but my BEST rave is saved for last.  I didn't get to meet Judy but what a great chat I had with Jill and Peggy.  These two and their kindred spirits in other indies are the backbone that make these stores click.

If you haven't been here yet, what's the problem?  You've had 28+ frickin' years to get here!  If you're in suburban Boston near the Winchester area, wake-up and smell the coffee with a visit to one of the region's finest.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Fleishman Is In Trouble, Taffy Brodesser-Akner.  NPR calls it a masterpiece.  I don't.  Follows the lives of a dysfunctional couple with marital problems and their elementary-aged children.  None of the characters are likeable except the 9-year old boy.  Dad goes on a sex binge and Mom is a power hungry exec.  This book was a struggle in more ways than one. 

CURRENTLY READING:  Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, Casey Cep. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Raft Of Stars, Andrew J. Graff.  Crazy bookstore socks.  

I just love the view of this building.  The main entrance is at the end of the crosswalk. 
Another view.  I would've loved seeing more of this building. 
From another direction.  I'm sparing you from the additional 30 exterior pictures I took. 
Looking straight into the store from the main entrance on the corner. 

View looking into the store and to the left. 

A current table display near the front entrance. 

Look for this book rack for a bargain buy. 

The store has an excellent assortment of greeting cards thanks to Peggy's work in this area. 

Lots of unique candles. 

Take a hard left after you enter and you can browse this wall. 

Still need to get a graduation gift?  They've got you covered.  

I absolutely love this sideline that looks like a genuine pad of butter!  If you see it in a bookstore and like it, GET IT.  Difficult to find elsewhere. 
Since resuming my journey post-pandemic, I don't think I've been to a bookstore yet that HASN'T had great success selling puzzles. 

One of the things I like about visiting independent booksellers, no two are alike.  Every table display of local bestsellers is unique. 

Table display of new non-fiction. 

Of course they have goofy bookstore socks. 

Overview of the children's room looking front to back. 

Children can experience sitting at an actual historic desk.  Anybody else sit in one of these besides me?

Display of award-winning children's books. 

Beautiful wall of children's books but I especially like the striking wall mural. 

Overview of the children's room, back to front. 

The adult side of the bookstore looking from the back toward the front entrance. 

Anything that has the word "bargain" attached to it deserves attention. 

Buy local, shop local.  Keep it up, Winchester.

How many of the staff picks have you read? 

I probably should've picked one of these up. 

Bookish earrings hand-made locally.  Very popular as you can see by the limited display. 

With Jill on the left and Peggy in the middle.  Jill is moving on to a new chapter but Peggy will be at Book Ends for your next visit.  These were the fine folks who were my hosts at Book Ends.  Thanks for a great visit. 

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