Less than two years after it opened, Byrd’s Books in Bethel, Conn., is moving from its 450 sq. ft. second-story perch in the Molten Java coffee shop to a ground floor downtown location that is nearly triple the size, 1,300 sq. ft., and has parking. In preparation for the move, the store has already begun putting much of its inventory on sale and will close briefly at the beginning of September to complete the transition. Owner Alice Hutchinson is planning a soft opening in the new space the second week in September, and a grand opening in October.
“We are stuffed at 4,400 books now and will at least double the inventory to start,” said Hutchinson, who opened the store in December, 2011. Before that she managed and handled the buying for Pymander Bookshop in Westport, which her mother, Nancy Ivison, owned for three decades. Hutchinson plans to carry many more books by Connecticut authors, poets, and illustrators, as well as works based on the state. “We have a wide and comprehensive selection of titles, we just need to flesh out a lot of the ones we have already. Our biggest business, so far, has been Connecticut titles and children’s, and we intend to beef up both of those,” said Hutchinson. She is also looking at adding more IndieBound selections and expanding nature and ecology. Given the store’s name, Byrd’s will add more bird books, too.
In addition to providing more space for books, the new location will enable Hutchinson to stock more nonbook items. Byrd’s already carries greeting cards, gift items, and puzzles. Hutchinson has begun buying more fine crafts made by local artists, as well as book-related sidelines for the new space. She is also planning to expand the store’s events schedule. A professional puppeteer does classic fairy tale shows and the store will add a storyteller. Byrd’s will also hold many more evening author events in the new downtown location, along with writer’s workshops and and poetry gatherings.