Eight Cousins Bookstore in Falmouth, Mass., is closed indefinitely after catastrophic flooding in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Located at the western edge of Cape Cod, Falmouth has just emerged from two weeks of extreme cold. But Eight Cousins co-owners Mary Fran Buckley and Sara Hines said the cause of the flooding appears to have been a malfunctioning pressure valve in an apartment pipe above the store.
Hines, who arrived Tuesday morning to find collapsed ceilings and water rushing in from above, said water had damaged the store's "entire stock" of 10,000 books and 3,000 gift items.
The booksellers spent much of the day salvaging any essential equipment and assessing the damage with the building owner. Along with the loss of inventory, Buckley said it was unclear whether any book cases could be saved.
Hines said they hope to be able to reopen but, until they know more about the extent of the damage, they cannot make a determination about whether it will be possible. “Everything we did today was to save the store,” said Hines. “That was the immediate path. But we have lots of questions and are still looking for answers.”
Founded in 1986 as a children’s specialty bookstore, Eight Cousins was purchased by Hines, Buckley, and Eileen Miskell from longtime owner Carol Chittenden in 2015. Since acquiring the store, the owners have expanded the selection to include a large selection of titles for adults as well.
Eight Cousins is not the only bookstore to fall victim to flooding in recent weeks. On January 3, a pipe burst at Greenlight Bookstore’s Flatbush Avenue location in the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn, destroying 750 books and damaging large portions of the store. In Raleigh, North Carolina, Quail Ridge Books was closed and without power on Monday after flooding from a burst water pipe the day before.
In the wake of Tuesday’s flood, Eight Cousins is posting updates to its Facebook page and website and referring customers to two fellow indie bookstores, Titcomb’s Bookshop in nearby Sandwich, and Market Street Bookshop in Mashpee.
“We’re very lucky that we have a lot of loyal customers and supporters,” said Buckley, “and they have all been contacting and offering help.”
Note: This article has been updated from its original version to reflect the receipt of new information about size of the stock that was damaged in the flood.