FARMINGTON – Amy’s Bookcase, a local bookstore in Farmington, will celebrate Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday as it strives to make a comeback from COVID-19.
Amy’s Bookcase has been family-owned for 41 years. Current owner Amy Henkenius purchased the store with her husband, Mike Henkenius, from her parents, Dale and Jean Pancoast.
The store is a used paperback book exchange with some new selections as well, specifically, those published locally. The store charges half price for the books and will buy from individual sellers at a quarter of the price.
The stretch through the pandemic was not easy for Amy’s Bookcase. Amy Henkenius said the store sold “pandemic packs,” which were random grab bags, to keep customers reading even when they couldn’t physically go into the store.
“We did not make a ton of money doing this, and it was a lot of work,” Henkenius said. “But it kept our bills paid so that we could reopen when the lockdown lifted, and people could get books.”
The bookstore is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.
The store is enforcing COVID-19-safe practices, including mask wearing, social distancing, sanitizing and even quarantining incoming books.
The store does some curbside pickups for people who might have a hard time getting into the store.
“Independent bookstores as a whole face so many challenges, especially in a world where it is easy to click on your computer screen and get anything you want very quickly,” Henkenius said.
At the start of the pandemic, Henkenius was able to set up an online store through Bookshop.org, a platform to help independent bookstores compete with online markets.
The business’s website, bookshop.org/shop/amysbookcase, went up in early 2020.
“We were fortunate that this was set in place very early last year, just before the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns, enabling people to support independent bookstores without leaving their homes,” Henkenius said. “People are still reading, and the pandemic seemed to reinforce that. We are happy that people can shop in the store now.”
On Saturday, Amy’s Bookcase will have merchandise exclusive to independent bookstores, gifts and a book-signing by Terry Nichols, an author who is releasing her first middle-grade novel, “The Dreaded Cliff.”