There’s good news coming out of Colorado this week concerning independent bookstores. A new bookstore, Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Café opened December 10 in Boulder, while 342 miles southwest, in Telluride, 36-year-old Between the Covers & Espresso Bar has just gained two new owners.
Innisfree Poetry is one of three bookstores in the U. S. stocking poetry titles exclusively and will carry works for both adults and children. Its two owners, Kate Hunter and Brian Buckley, met in a poetry workshop led by Lloyd Schwartz at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. While Hunter has no previous bookselling experience, Buckley worked at Grolier Poetry Bookshop in Cambridge and at Waldenbooks in New York City. Besides the two owners, the store, which is 460 square feet, with 2,000 titles currently in stock, has one full-time and one-part time employee. It also has a drive-up window so, according to Hunter, "people can buy poetry from the sidewalk."
The two explain on the store’s Web site that they named their store Innisfree after “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by William Butler Yeats, which, in turn, was inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, one of their favorite books. Innisfree’s café area will carry fair trade and organic coffees roasted by a local company, and the store's grand opening is scheduled for January 15 and will feature an appearance by Colorado poet laureate David Mason.
The two other poetry bookstores in the U.S. are Open Books: A Poem Emporium in Seattle, Wash., and the first one, Grolier Poetry Bookshop, in Cambridge, Mass., in business since 1927.
Between the Covers, a full-service general bookstore that also specializes in regional books about southwest Colorado, was purchased from Stuart and Joanna Brown on Dec. 1 by two store employees: book buyer Daiva Chesonis, who’s worked at the store since 2008, and store manager Bobbie Smith, who’s worked there since 2006. The bookstore’s espresso bar was purchased separately on Nov. 30 by Between the Covers’ sidelines buyer, Hilary Douglas, along with her husband, Jon Hubbard, and renamed High Alpine Coffee Bar. Douglas, an employee of Between the Covers since 2003, will continue to work there part-time as a sidelines buyer.
While it will be business as usual with few changes inside the bricks-and-mortar bookstore, Chesonis and Smith intend to make its Web site interactive with online ordering of books and sidelines. Staff picks and in-store events will also be posted on the store’s site. The new owners intend to sell Google eBooks through the store’s site by spring.
The Browns purchased Between the Covers in 1998 from Edi Katz, who opened the store in 1974. The Browns are moving to Boston to be closer to their four children.