At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Maine’s oldest bookstore, Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shops, had to shutter one of its six locations. One year later, CEO and co-owner Jeff Curtis has announced that Sherman’s will replace its now-closed Camden store with three new bookstores in Maine.
“A year ago when all our stores had to close because of the pandemic, we thought the world as we knew it was ending,” Curtis said in a statement. “But when the Governor and Dr. Shah said it was safe to reopen, our team did a great job of creating a healthy shopping environment for our customers and themselves, and our customers really appreciated being able to come in and browse. The resulting surge in business left us looking for growth opportunities.”
While Curtis initially looked to open one new location, they ultimately identified three attractive areas, and decided to open a store in each one. The new stores will be located in Rockland, Topsham, and Windham. Curtis told PW the stores will open in mid-summer.
Director of operations and co-owner Maria Boord Curtis said the expansion will create 15 new jobs. “This growth also creates career advancement opportunities for our current team," Boord Curtis said. "As a result, Sherman’s is now hiring for various positions at the new locations as well as at all five existing locations in Bar Harbor, Boothbay Harbor, Damariscotta, Freeport, and Portland.”
Unemployment in Maine was 4.8% in March 2021, compared with 3.1% at the same time last year, just as the pandemic was beginning. Sherman's expansion is one of numerous redesign and expansion efforts being undertaken at indie bookstores nationwide after online sales and customer support dampened the anticipated negative impact of the pandemic in 2020.