A Wicklow bookstore is looking for someone to take over the successful 15-year-old business.
The Blessington Bookstore and Cafe opened in 2005, but had to close last year due to the pandemic.
The reaction of the local community to the closure prompted the owner to offer the unique opportunity for someone else to take over the business.
Janet Hawkins, owner of Blessington Bookstore, said she could barely voice the community’s reaction to the shutdown.
She said: “I put a lot of comments, gifts and letters in a box, which I have yet to open because I was overwhelmed by the kindness and thoughtfulness of the people.”
She added: “One person said it was like the bookstore was a pacemaker that brought the city back to life.”
Ms Hawkins enlists someone to take over the store as she feels she is too close to retirement to restart it.
She said, “If there was someone who loved food and books and took the same joy from them as I did, I would put my hands under their feet to help them.”
Ms Hawkins said she will offer the new owner the equipment at the lowest possible price and that the knowledge she has accumulated over the past 15 years will be available to them.
Mrs. Hawkins had come to the end of her lease, and when the landlord asked for a 30% rent increase, she decided to close.
“We worked in a few pop-up locations until the end of the year, but we closed with lockdown again until this month when someone approached me,” she said. .
Ms Hawkins said the owner of a two-story building of about 83 square meters upstairs and downstairs approached her and told her he would like to see the bookstore again in town and asked if she would be ready to move there.
She said: “At the start of 2020 I was actually in expansion mode because we were doing so well, we didn’t have room for customers.
“80% of the time we were at full capacity and I was working on a big project that was going to be bigger or better. And of course, everything went with Covid. “
The new owner will have the opportunity to start in a different location which can be as wonderful as the old bookstore.
Ms Hawkins said she has enjoyed running the bookstore / cafe for over a decade.
“You have a day where someone walked in and said, ‘I was there before Christmas and was looking for a book for my dad who was going through a bad time, and you recommended Green Platform. He read it three times. It made such a difference in her life, ”she said.
“And you stand there with your mouth open, thinking; “My God, what a privilege to have been able to help this person, to put these two together. “
She added, “It was a place where they were known, they were accepted and they were welcome.
“It was just lovely to have been involved in organizing all of this and why I would be willing to help someone else do it.”
Ms Hawkins said the new owner will need business acumen and a love for books and food.
“You have to be passionate about books and book sharing and enjoy the kind of wacky conversations that can only happen when two complete strangers find common ground in a book or story, and all of a sudden you know. , the magic happens, ”she said. Explain.
Emer Kelly, a former bookstore employee, said, “I really enjoyed working in the bookstore. There was such a great atmosphere and so many repeat customers to chat with.
“I think a lot of people, especially the older community, relied on coffee for a business and would miss it since it closed.
“It would be great to see it reopen, and it would be a boost for the community after such a difficult year. “