Two and a half years after opening the World’s Only Curious George Store in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass., Adam Hirsch and his wife, Jamie Hirsch, are readying their second high-concept bookstore named after a children’s book with a strong local connection, the Make Way for Ducklings Store in Faneuil Hall in Boston, Mass. The store takes its name from Robert McCloskey’s Caldecott Award-winning picture book, the official children’s book of the state of Massachusetts.
“We’ve been thinking about this for well over a year. Quite soon after we opened the Curious George Store, we felt confident in the template,” says Hirsch, referring to the bookstore’s merchandising plan. It offers not only the book for which it is named, but a variety of books and educational toys, along with exclusive Curious George items. In addition, the store is well situated in a high-traffic tourist area, while at the same time is connected to the local community. Curious George authors H.A. Rey and Margret Rey lived just blocks from the Harvard Square location.
“We’re fortunate to have in our area internationally recognized but locally rooted storybook authors and illustrators. We thought no one is celebrating that. We have the opportunity,” says Hirsch of his decision to further refine his bookstore concept with Make Way for Ducklings in early September. The book for which the store is named is set nearby in the Boston Public Garden, and Hirsch is working with both the McCloskeys and Penguin on the store.
Hirsch has been offered a one-year lease on the 5,000 sq. ft space, where he plans to highlight McCloskey’s books along with those of other authors and illustrators with a Massachusetts connection—Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Richard Scarry’s Busytown books, Dr. Seuss’s books, and Mother Goose. “It’s an investment on our part,” says Hirsch. “Our job is to blow them away.” If he does, the store will be offered a longer-term lease, not necessarily in the same location at the end of the North Market Building.
In the meantime, Hirsch is already negotiating for a third “strategically placed” Boston-area bookstore that will celebrate another local picture book author. “We have a plan we’re very confident in,” he says. "Retail is hard. These are destination stores.”