When long-time Cape Cod bookstore Compass Rose, later renamed SE Mery, Bookseller, in the picturesque tourist community of Orleans, Mass., closed last year, Janis Brennan and Don Krohn decided that the town's Main Street needed a new bookstore to take its place. Last fall, they began setting up a bookstore in vacant space next to the organic grocery they founded 29 years ago.
Main Street Books shares the same address as their Orleans Whole Food Store, but has a separate entrance. Despite its small size—only 600 square feet—Brennan said, "We have every major section. Literary fiction and Cape Cod are our biggest ones, and we carry lots of political books." The bookstore also has a wider selection of cookbooks than the food store, which will continue to carry some cookbooks and nutrition titles. However, Brennan has moved all the spiritual books to the bookstore.
The store just had a soft opening and is planning on a grand opening just before Memorial Day, the official start of the summer vacation season. Although many booksellers might have jumped at the chance to open before Christmas, Brennan and Krohn decided to wait. "We were going to open in October. Then I thought, we'll be sitting on all these aging books in the winter. It didn't make sense when the tourists come in the summer," Brennan told PW.
She's waiting to hear back from several nearby businesses about helping her hold author events, since Main Street Books is too cramped. Brennan and Krohn are also setting up an informational Web site, MainStreetBookstore.com. To date, Brennan sais, she and her husband have been heartened by the community's response. "We've had so many people sticking their head in and saying, 'Hi!' and 'I'm glad you're here.' "