Sherman’s Books, with five stores in Maine, including the state’s oldest independent bookstore, the 129-year-old Sherman’s in Bar Harbor, is about to add one more with owner Jeff Curtis’s purchase of Maine Coast Book Shop & Café in Damariscotta. Susan and Barnaby Porter put the 50-year-old mid-coast store and their interest in the historic building where it’s located, Lincoln Hall, up for sale in late April so that they could retire.
As part of the acquisition, Sherman’s is taking a new name, Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shops. “We look forward to bringing the best of the Maine Coast Book Shop to the other Sherman’s stores,” said Curtis, “and the best of Sherman’s to the Maine Coast Book Shop to ultimately create the best of the best local, independent bookstores ever.” In addition to Bar Harbor, Sherman’s has locations in Camden, Boothbay Harbor, Freeport, and as of last year in Portland.
Curtis has no plans to make any significant changes to the Damariscotta store. The staff will stay on, and Curtis’s daughter, Tori Curtis, and partner, Maria Boord will assist with the transition. The Porters will run the bookstore through the holiday season, and will serve as consultants after January 1. “Putting what amounts to my life’s work into the hands of a new owner is a pretty emotional process,” said Susan Porter. “But because it’s Jeff Curtis, I am very much relieved.”