Book store

Changes underway at Chapter One Book Store; holiday shopping suggestions | Local News

Hamilton’s Chapter One bookstore makes property adjustments, offers shopping suggestions to customers and offers a variety of services.

Shawn Wathen, bookstore associate with Mara Luther since 2010, is retiring. Luther has been involved with the bookstore for 16 years. She started working at the bookstore in 2004 and became part owner in 2010.

Currently, Luther is co-owner with Marisa Neyenhuis and they are slowly looking for a third partner so “Shawn can fully retire,” Luther said.

Officially, the transition took place on October 20, but Neyenhuis said she was comfortable with the bookstore because she worked there as an intern at Hamilton High School.

“I worked in high school and when I came home from college, then I moved for 19 years,” Neyenhuis said.

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In August, she moved to Hamilton amid the pandemic and “bought a bookstore.”

“I have a seven-year-old and it’s really good because now my parents are becoming working grandparents,” Neyenhuis said. “Before, they spent four to six weeks a year with us in Vermont or we came to visit here, but now they can pick him up from school. It’s good for everyone.

Neyenhuis said when Luther partnered with Wathen to own and run the bookstore, she first felt a loss.

“I was thinking, ‘oh no, my bookstore is gone’ but it turns out I can buy Chapter One and work with Mara,” she said. “It’s like I bookmarked it so that when it was time to go home there was the awesome bookstore that I could shop at.”

Neyenhuis said Luther and Wathen have done an outstanding job promoting the bookstore.

“They’ve done an amazing job working with libraries, school libraries and creating great partnerships within the community, we have so much great community support,” she said. “You have to work hard to foster that in the age of Amazon and internet shopping. You have to make it really interesting to get customers into the bookstore. Shawn and Mara have done a job amazing for it to remain a super important part of the community.

Neyenhuis said the COVID pandemic has impacted publishers and shopping early is the best bet.

“People need to buy now for the holidays,” she said. “The publishers are so behind; they’re still printing books, but when supplies run out, they’ll skip the new year.

“It’s everything from distribution to the printing presses themselves,” she said. “Because so many books have been pushed back from spring release dates, it really supported everything. But we’ve stocked up on books we love and believe in. We asked customers if they know what they want, if they want something specific, to order from us now.

Chapter One offers new and used books of all kinds; margins related to the book; calendars; holiday books and good humor.

Customers are always welcome to come in and browse.

Luther said the bookstore supports many community organizations, completing the circle of support.

“We use this time of year to showcase other organizations in the city that we donate to and support to remind our community that when they support their local businesses, their local businesses turn around and support the organizations “, she said. “That’s why it all works and why it’s so important to keep your money in the local community.”

Luther said Hamilton Main Street businesses are often approached for donations from various groups.

“We love giving back to our community and we can only do that if we’re here,” she said.

Neyenhuis said the community must work together.

Small Business Saturday, a day between Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, was launched in 2010 to remind consumers to support small businesses in their community. It’s for shopping favorite local businesses, independent stores, boutiques and salons.

Chapter One Book Store will sell books in different ways on November 27.

“[For Small Business Saturday] we don’t encourage large groups of people to congregate in one place at once,” Luther said. “We’re not doing a lot of in-store promotions for this weekend, but we’re working on our website. It’s creative problem solving, we want to honor that and let people know they have local options.

Luther said Chapter One Book Store is flexible.

“We have store hours and also constantly send books to people, we do curbside delivery, we certainly work with people who do not visit businesses who need masks, or for those who don’t feel comfortable visiting public spaces,” Luther said. “We definitely make it work for everyone’s situation.”

“We are trying to make it easier to buy from the bookstore while ensuring our safety and that of our customers,” Neyenhuis said.