Just what the Village needs!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Just what the Village needs!

From Wednesday's Publisher's Weekly:

"The Books & Books indie chain is working its way north from South Florida with the July 1 opening of (a 2,000 sq. ft.) Books & Books Westhampton Beach."

The release further goes on to quote co-owner (with Denise Berthiaume) Jack McKeown, des­cribed as a "book industry consultant," as say­ing the new business, situated in a portion of the one-time Schwartz' Department Store, will be "very sleek."

(Mr. McKeown is a former CEO of Perseus Books Group.)

Not to be inhospitable to Ms. Berthiaume or Mr. McKeown, but one small bookstore on Sunset Avenue recently failed, and Terry Lucas' Open Book, successor to Mimi Calkin's long-time The Book Mark, has been on Main Street for over 50 years.

The Publisher's Weekly report states:

"McKeown conducted a research survey in 2009 that found there will be a market for physical books, albeit a hybrid one shared with e-books, for many decades to come."


What sort of "research" was conducted in the greater Westhampton area to ascer­tain whether another bookstore is needed or even viable in the downtown area?

Where is the Greater Westhampton Chamber of Commerce on this? Instead of commandeer­ing the Farmer's Market and sponsoring Crafts and Arts shows, and "Amazing" Races, why aren't they out encouraging needed enterprise to come into the area?

(Breathes there a soul within a five mile radius who hasn't bemoaned the loss of National Store? How 'bout a shoe store?)

Mme. Calkin is rolling in her grave!

Still, we should probably all be thankful that it won't be another real estate office opening on Main Street.


1. Frank Wheeler said...


2. Elyse Richman said...

Unlike the other Hamptons there are not many empty stores on our Main Street; unlike the other Hamptons our stores are owned by locals that actually live and work here. Our Main Street is a valuable asset to our Village; most of the stores try to stay open year 'round, and most of the owners are in their stores and we know them on a first name basis. What a great Village to shop and work in.

My thoughts are competition makes you work harder, keeps you on your toes, brings out more creativity to make your business stronger. I think I can say for myself and propbably all the other merchants we are all fully stocked with new merchandise and we are ready for a BUSY season. Come down to Main Street and shop now and shop often.


Really, Elyse? Now I know you live here year 'round as well, and that you do a 12-month business, but few non-real estate businesses do.

I've always agreed that "competition improves the breed," but with the advent of Internet commerce in general, and in this specific instance, monster Amazon.com (a modest financial supporter of OtBB), it gets tougher for small bricks'n'mortar businesses to survive, let alone flourish.

3. Beth Flanagan said...

The Chamber has been recently promoting the 3/50 Project.

The Amazing Race is a Hurricane Foundation event.

As for my sole, I prefer it to NOT breathe on my plate. Just saying.

What a wag you are, Beth!

In respect to "The Amazing Race," Terrie Bauer has quite directly informed me that it is "not" a Chamber event, merely promoted on their Website.

My point remains: what is the Chamber's charter? I served on its Board for almost a decade, and we seemed to more fully understand the concept 35 years ago.
– Dean

4. Hambone said...

You are right on the money. I know the vacant businesses scattered on the various corners of Westhampton{sic} are private enterprise but it remains striking to me that the local government wants to overly regulate such things as street musicians over supporting viable commerce.

When I find you agreeing with me, I feel compelled to check back and see where I went wrong.

In this particular entry, aside from "sole" for "soul" thing (my bad!), and clarifying The Amazing Race part, you're the one off-base, and badly so, from not knowing the difference between "Westhampton" and "Westhampton Beach," to completely misunderstanding the outdoors music issue... and trying to tie it together.

5. Thomas M. Kerr Jr. said...

Dean: You idiot, please research you{sic} information on the Amazing Race. It has nothing to do with the chamber. It is for the Hurrican{sic} Foundation to support the new greenhouse project. It was started by my niece, 12 year old Lauren Bauer.

And here I thought I'd already addressed this, but for the record, the information came from the Chamber's own Website, which makes no mention of the Hurricane Foundation's involvement.

By the same token, nor does the Hurricane Foundation's own Webpage make any mention of the event, so perhaps you should spread the opprobrium around a little bit.

6. Susan said...

Just support THE OPEN BOOK, and it's all good! Terry gives so much back to our community, it's the least we can do!

7. David Reilly said...


As a member of the Planning Board now for nearly four years, I find there to be more than a little presumption in their declaration that the new book store will be open on July 1. Unless I am way off base, section 197-63 of the village code requires site plan approval by the Planning Board for any change of use of any building in the Village, subject to limted exceptions whose applicability cannot be assessed from the little information I have. To date, I have not been made aware of any such application. At present, since we had our May meeting last night, the earliest that any such application could get on the Planning Board's agenda for a public hearing would be at the June 10 meeting (assuming they timely submit said application sometime in the next two weeks). Even if all went smoothly at the June meeting, there could be no resolution giving site plan approval until the July 8 meeting, a full week after they claim that they will be opening.

Methinks that they should consult with one of our many local experts in the field of land use applications lest they find themselves with a truck full of Thoreau with no place to go.

Why Dave, well played!

8. Tugboat Bertha said...

Yes, by all means, we must not abandon local business by and for local people. Support The Open Book. It is on Glover's Lane and the store that it now occupies is adorable.

9. Terry Lucas said...

Thank you all for your support. It was a blow to find out that a bookstore was opening in Mimi's (and my) original location. I am now at 1 Glovers Lane and fighting hard to stay there as a year 'round full service bookstore. Please come by for a free cup of coffee and a chat!

Mimi's original location was at 98 Main, I believe, and I thought the new one was opening in the Eastern half of Schwartz'.

10. Terry Lucas said...

The new store is actually both the old Book Mark and the old Koala with the wall between torn down. I was not around until 1992, so I never knew the original Mimi's or Schwartz'.

11. Hambone said...

Oh please!

"Please" what?

12. Carrie said...

As of a few weeks ago, the sign/layout in the window of the gutted space said 'Opening Memorial Day Weekend.' Now they say July. If they do not have the permits as previously commented, there may not be any competition this Summer.

Dunno... but I raised this in the conceptual sense. I still don't "get" it.
– Dean

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