Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Village Square Booksellers - Bellows Falls, VT

Village Square Booksellers, Bellows Falls, VT

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Walking around the quaint downtown of Bellows Falls, I felt like I was in a movie about a charming small town in New England.  Beautifully charming and historic and as owner Pat F. told me, in some ways a place that time has left behind.  And centered right in the middle of town in a historic space that used to house a ladies department store, is the equally charming Village Square Books owned by Pat and husband Alan.  This town of approximately 3000 has supported and maintained this business for about 20 years.  Vermont is a GREAT bookstore state and this is the perfect example in this small town.  Strongly supported by locals like retired academics and civil servants as well as tourists, especially in the upcoming tourist season.  I'm happy to say that in this picturesque town, things are going well at Village Square Books.

When I entered this store, I was immediately greeted by Bella Fuzz as Pat rushed her to the front of the store to meet me.   She's the bookstore cat who lives here 24/7 and named Bella Fuzz as a result of a naming contest.  

I wasn't in the store 5 minutes and Pat has this charmer, Bella Fuzz, front and center to meet me. 

Bella Fuzz = Bellows Falls, great name.  The inventory of books and sidelines is impressive.  All new books, an expansive children's section, and a strong assortment of books of local interest and by local authors.  The sidelines were fantastic and as Pat told me, she offers that variety here because you can't get them anywhere else in town.  Bookstore socks, jigsaw puzzles, and lots of stuff for kids to name a few.  Kids will definitely love this store.   

The thing I really like here is there is a resolve to community commitment for small businesses.  Before the pandemic Valley Square Booksellers would receive about $2000 in online orders per year.  During the pandemic year that number exploded to $29,000 per year.  It may be that Vermont is such a good bookstore state because their population understands the importance of supporting local businesses.  They certainly do in Bellows Falls.  Buy local, shop local.

It was so fun to meet Pat and Alan and hear their stories during my visit.  This couple gave up a life of living on a sailboat touring the Carribean and riding barges in Europe and then moved here from California to open a bookstore.  I'm so glad they did and I have a hunch that the fine folks in Bellows Falls are happy about that too.  Don't pass this one up.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Squeeze Me, Carl Hiaasen.  A wealthy widow mega-donor to the president mysteriously disappears from a fund-raising benefit held at his Florida resort.  Lounging in a nearby tree is a VERY swollen python.  An amusing satire about a president and the first lady are featured and the fiction would not seem to fall far from the truth, all without using said president's name.  Recommended.

CURRENTLY READING:  Fleishman Is In Trouble, Taffy Brodesser-Akner. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Bellows Falls, Archer Mayor.                                                                                                                                       

Years ago this stores' space was occupied by a women's department store.  Those stores had lots of window display space.  This is a portion of that display space and they've done a great job with it. 

I usually don't take pictures of doors but this screen door was what time left behind.  I love it. 

View looking into the store from the front entrance.

Looking to the left from the front entrance. 

Looking to the right from the front entrance. 
I wasn't in the store 5 minutes and Pat had this charmer, Bella Fuzz, front and center to meet me. 
Partial view of the children's section.

The store has a wide selection of kids' items. 

Another partial view of the children's section looking toward the back of the store.
Just a few of the greeting cards you'll find scattered throughout the store. 

If there's an artist in your family, bring them to the store and this display. 

Indie paperback best sellers display. 

This area in the back of the store is easily transformed into a suitable events space. 

If you see it in a bookstore, get it.  You're unlikely to find it elsewhere. 
Hey Vermont, get the sign for your town. 
Jigsaw puzzles were huge during the pandemic.  Go to the back of the store for these. 

I love these!  Do you know a little one who ALWAYS wants to help in the yard and garden?  These items are just their size. 

The long wall of books. 

Art works displayed by local middle schoolers.  Nicely done. 


Follow the long wall of books around the corner to this nook. 

Just a few of the items displayed of local and regional interest. 

Overview of the store looking from the back toward the front entrance. 

The bird's eye view, front to back. 
I don't need this one but you might.  Look for this book at your local independent bookstore.  Highly recommended. 

You'll need a Vermont chocolate bar to go with your book.  Two if it's a big one. 

With Pat and Bella Fuzz, just part of the fun waiting for you to visit Village Square Books.  Thanks for a great visit. 

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