Residents of old Greenwich, rejoice. A new independent bookstore, Athena Books, is slated to open on Sound Beach Avenue in early December.
For a decade, locals mourned the loss of their last independent bookstore in Old Greenwich, Just Books on Arcadia, which closed in 2011.
Greenwich resident Jennifer Bird, who will co-own Athena Books with husband Odysseas Kostas, said during Covid her family spent a lot of time in bookstores and reading at home. She said she believed people were making a concerted effort to move away from reading on devices.
“During the Covid, we went to bookstores all the time. It was one of the only things we could do, ”said Bird. “I think during the pandemic people really enjoyed the physical feel of a book as opposed to reading it on devices.”
“We went to a bookstore and I turned to Odysseas and suggested opening a bookstore in Old Greenwich. ”
Bird and Kostas are both entrepreneurs. She runs a legal research firm with partners, and Kostas, who grew up in Riverside, is a physician who served the community for many years before moving into finance several years ago.
“Odysseas said he always wanted to work in a bookstore,” Bird said.
From there, Bird contacted Allied’s commercial real estate agent Diane Roth and learned that 228 Sound Beach Avenue, formerly the residence of CM Almy, a maker of church supplies, had become available.
“The space is beautiful and has enough room for events and gatherings,” Bird continued. “The idea is to have both a bookstore and an evening gathering space for a variety of events. People can even host their book clubs there.
Bird then explained the inspiration behind the store’s name.
“My husband is Greek and we have two daughters,” she said. “Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom. She’s a strong female figure, and we thought that would be a great name for the bookstore.
“We want Athena Books to be a gathering place for the whole community and a source of inspiration,” Bird added.
Ahead of the opening in early December, Bird said she and Kostas were busy selecting books for adults and children – both fiction and non-fiction.
“We have had conversations with school media specialists and want to make sure we offer books that teachers recommend and kids enjoy,” she said, adding that they were planning to create a section recommended by. teachers and librarians. They also plan to sell cards, notebooks and gifts.
Mrs Roth of Allied said: “As a leasing agent I believe Athena Books will be an incredible addition to the specialty retail district of Old Greenwich. The village has become a unique shopping destination.
“It’s a great place to spend the day and shop in the unique stores. One particular bookstore will become the heart and soul of the community.
Until the store opens next month, people who want to support Athena Books can visit their webpage at bookshop.org – https://bookshop.org/shop/athenabooksog – Bookshop.org is an online bookstore whose mission is to support independent bookstores.
Bird described bookshop.org as “like an Amazon for independent bookstores”.
It also has a freelance-friendly affiliate program for writers, publishers, book clubs, and media partners.
Bird and Kostas have created several lists of recommendations for the holidays, but it is also possible to use the search function on bookshop.org to find other desired books. Enter the site HERE, and 30% of sales will go to support Athena Books.
Follow AthenaBooks on Instagram at @AthenaBooksOG for updates ahead of the official launch.