This year Black Friday has a special meaning for Lisa Sullivan, owner of Bartleby’s Books in Wilmington, Vt., and her husband, Philip Taylor, a carpenter who rebuilt the store with help from community volunteers. Nearly three months after the bookstore was partially destroyed along with all its inventory by Tropical Storm Irene, it will reopen on the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 25. The renovated store will have an expanded second floor, new books, gifts, and Mocha Joe’s coffee. “We expect little sleep and things not to be perfect when we reopen, but we will be open,” said Sullivan on her tumblr blog.
Sullivan also launched a new Web site for Bartleby’s (MyVermontBookstore.com), where she is selling both print books and e-books. A new marketing campaign to promote both the Web site and physical store points to overcoming the destructiveness of water: “Come hell or high water, Bartleby’s is my Vermont bookstore.” In addition to the four-feet of water that nearly demolished Bartleby’s, its sister store, the Book Cellar in Brattleboro, Vt., was forced to close for good in April because of water damage from a six-alarm fire.
Sullivan, who lives in Wilmington, said that she felt she had no choice but to rebuild Bartleby’s. She just couldn’t walk away. Owners of nearby downtown businesses are also planning to re-open for Christmas with a little help from neighbors. Over Columbus Day weekend, Sullivan’s children and several of their friends set up a lemonade stand and raised $661 for the Wilmington Flood Relief Fund.