Brome Lake Books is leaving its current location and moving to the former Jones of New York store. Lucy Hoblyn and Danny McAuley, the two owners of the thriving bookstore, like the idea of a brighter more modern store right on the street.
“There are tall ceilings, wooden floors, and large windows,” says McAuley. “The new location is more visible. Right now we’re in the back of an empty building.”
The move was forced when the Town of Brome Lake bought the building as part of its renovation of downtown Knowlton. Town staff will move into the building while the town hall is being renovated. Also the town plans to tear down the Mill Pond complex, where Brome Lake Books operated until 2014. This all meant Brome Lake Books had to find a new home, and the building that once housed the Ralph Lauren outlet was up for grabs. The two spaces are about the same size.
Brome Lake Books is a phenomenon. In a world where most small bookstores have shut down long ago, it thrives. There are many reasons, including rules that mean local schools and the library have to buy their books through the store.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the success is the hard-working couple who have run the store since 2006. They are open seven days a week, and one of them is always there, usually with their dog Watson. The longest permanent member of staff is Sheila McManus.
The Louise Penny phenomenon also helps.
“We get hundreds of American tourists a year, who come here because of Louise Penny,” says Lucy Hoblyn. “In the new store, we will have a renovated Louise Penny area.”
One measure of the popularity of the local writer: Brome Lake Books sold 1,000 copies of her latest novel, Glass Houses which came out in the fall of 2017. That would be a huge sale of one book in a big city store, nothing but astounding in a village book- store like Brome Lake Books. The new shop is expected to open on May 9th, assuming all 9,000 books have made it across the street by that time.