Northshire Bookstore is a family-owned, independent bookstore, with two locations - one in Manchester Center, Vermont, and the other in Saratoga Springs, New York. We believe strongly in the triple bottom line - people, planet & profits - because we recognize that business occurs in the context of community. We work hard to enrich our communities as we strive to thrive in the dynamic world of bookselling.
Besides our superb staff, our full service bookstores are proud to offer:
- Children's Departments - Almost a third of our stores are devoted to kids! Getting youngsters to read sets them up for a lifetime of success. We have dedicated, expert Children's staffs and a superb buyer.
- Author Event Series – Both Northshire Bookstores host many author events every month. We are dedicated to bringing a wide range of amazing authors – both local and nationally renowned - to both our host communities. For our event listings, please click here.
- Public Issues Forums - We have regular discussions on topics ranging from sustainability to local food development to Darwin, and serve as a community resource for a wide range of local organizations.
- Reading Groups - Northshire Bookstore hosts or participates in many reading groups. View our selections here.
The core of our stores are the great staffs. As of December 2014, we have twelve people who have been with us for over 15 years, some of whom have been with us longer than 25 years. In addition to longevity, these wonderful people are highly skilled and care deeply about books and bookselling, and they are passionate about bringing the best in ideas, inspiration and entertainment to you.
Besides the Morrows (see History below), our management team consists of these wonderful people:
Jonathan Fine - Jon has lived in Vermont for over 25 years. When not overseeing the inflow of all books and merchandise as well as staff morale, he enjoys playing guitar, writing and, reading.
Stan Hynds – Stan started his career in the book business in Pasadena in 1993. He has been with the Northshire since 2000 and is the Adult Book Buyer.
Ben Parker – Ben is the IT Director and has been at the Northshire since 1990. In addition, he is the buyer for Science Fiction & Fantasy, Graphic Novels and Computer Books.
Nancy Scheemaker - Nancy Scheemaker is the general manager of Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs, NY. A bookseller with the Northshire since 1998, she has also enjoyed developing reading groups, serving as the director of community programs and has recently joined the board of the New England Independent Bookseller's Association.
Jessica Wood – A passionate reader since childhood, Jessica manages the buying of children's books and gift items throughout both of our stores. She has been with Northshire Bookstore for 25 years.
Debbi Wraga – Debbi Wraga runs our Independent Publishing Program and has helped over 575 authors publish their books. When not working with authors, or burying her nose in books, you will find her working on one of her many craft projects with her two small dogs, Raya and Goliath right by her side.
Alison Wyman - A native Vermonter, Alison has been the Accounting Dept Manager since 1985. Her interests outside the bookstore include gardening, DIY projects & fundraising for the local cancer organization.
Northshire Bookstore was founded in 1976 by Ed & Barbara Morrow. Their first store was located on Main Street in Manchester Center, VT next to the Factory Point Bank (now Berkshire Bank). They were novices, but they knew they had made the right decision when passersby stopped by the store - not yet finished - asking for specific titles as they were opening up cartons of books to put on the shelves. One person asked if "this was going to be an adult bookstore," and we assured him that it was for all ages. Another asked if we were going to carry music - then it was LP's - and we were quick to sense a demand for records. Children's books were always going to be a focus, but soon after we opened - in 1,000 square feet on one floor - we realized that we hadn't devoted enough space to them, and so two years later we opened the Children's Level downstairs.
In 1985, the Northshire Bookstore made a somewhat risky decision to purchase the Colburn House, formerly an established inn and restaurant, and after 1½ years of redesign and extensive renovation, we moved across the street. Over the years, we were rewarded by a growing clientele, a wonderful and enthusiastic staff, and an author program that contributed to the cultural vibrancy of the community. In response to our local customers, as well as visitors, we built our house of books so that by the end of the 90’s, we started dreaming about what would have been inconceivable when we moved in to the Colburn. We needed a bigger store! And the planning began.
Around that time, Ed & Barbara's sons Chris and Andy came back to Vermont, after years of school, work and travel elsewhere, and became involved in the store, Andy with used books, and Chris learning the whole operation from top to bottom. After a few years of planning and fund raising, the newly expanded, 10,000 square foot Northshire opened in 2003, a week before Christmas. We now had what we hoped was a more browser-friendly bookstore – and of course the wonderful Spiral Press Café.
But just as Barbara and Ed were moving into retirement, and Chris had become General Manager, another unanticipated opportunity presented itself. Members of the Saratoga Springs community started contacting us, asking us to consider opening a bookstore there. They were, surprisingly, without an independent bookstore, and once we started to explore that vibrant community, we were convinced that opening another store in Saratoga Springs – a relatively easy 1¼ hour’s drive from Manchester – was a commitment we were ready to make.
From the start, we felt welcomed by all facets of the community, and we are enjoying partnering with the many local organizations, as well as Skidmore College, in our offerings. We have started a number of book clubs on various topics and are savoring the diversity of being part of a small city. Many of our customers tell us they like to shop in both stores, there being differences, as well as similarities, in ambiance and selection. Children’s books continue to be extremely important to us, as evidenced by the second floor devoted to an extensive collection of books, games, toys, and clothes for children.
We will continue to grow in the sense that we are always open to new ideas and interesting ventures. We live in a fast changing world where the main constant is change itself. With your help, we are confident that we will be able to respond to the myriad challenges of the 21st century. BOOKS LIVE! We believe that there will be bookstores long into the future and we will be one of them.
This an interview with Chris Morrow hosted by Charles Cornell of Cornell Digital. Interesting only if you want some of Chris' background and the evolution of the business...