When they opened their antiquarian bookstore in a tiny room on Coburg St. in August of 2000, father and daughter team Dave Shoots and Wendy Matheson had no idea what they were getting into. Ten years later, the floor space of Dave Shoots, Bookseller has increased sixfold, and the store is literally bursting with about 15,000 old hardcovers, priced from $6 up. It also has an excellent selection of local/regional titles, most of which are available only in softcover. Some of the rarer items are listed online on three different websites.
The business has built up a strong following among local readers, but the owners know that there are still people who havent visited their store: At least every couple of weeks, we get a customer in who says, I didnt know you were here,says Matheson. Its a bit frustrating, but we know were a little off the beaten path for people who shop Uptown. Its worth the walk up the hill just to see our front door, though! The door is curved Honduran mahogany with lead glass windowsthe building dates to 1827.
Surviving as an independent bookseller in Saint John is tough, and a number of local stores have closed over the years. However, Matheson says that the remaining four used bookstores co-operate with each other: We all have our own specialtiesI have no problem sending a customer somewhere else if I dont have what they wantwe know that the other stores tell people about us all the time! There are still a few customers who dont have access to the Internet, and for $5, the store will order books in for them.
On Friday, August 13th and Saturday, August 14th, Dave Shoots, Bookseller will host an Open House celebrating its 10th Anniversary. The theme is The Art of the Book. Well be open from 8 to 8 on Friday and 8 to 5 on Saturday, says Matheson. We hope that people doing the Gallery Hop on Friday night will come and see a selection of beautiful bindings – one book dates back to1629! We are also doing a display of miniature books. There will be some tasty treats and a special anniversary sale as well.
Dave Shoots Bookseller is at 40 Coburg St. Phone: (506) 693-7758.