On Father’s Day this year we decided to take a drive to the new bookstore opened by Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney in Plainville, MA.
Mr. Kinney purchased the building in 2012, in the town center where he made his home, as it had sat derelict for some time. He pondered what to do with it and according to a New York Times article, asked for suggestions from a number of school kids and got suggestions such as a roller coaster, an M&M swimming pool and a bookstore. I suppose the latter seemed the least messy.
After browsing for a while, I stepped out the front doors (the parking area is in the back) to have a look around. The other buildings on the street looked vacant and there was no activity except for a number of cars driving by. Only a pizza place across the way suggested there was more to Plainville than just the new bookstore (which opened May 30, 2015). The hope is that the author’s notoriety will draw people to the small town and will sustain the store (and upstairs event and workshop space) and perhaps help revitalize the town center.
Although there are three floors to the building owned by Mr. Kinney, my wife felt the bookstore on the first floor was a little small and I have to agree. Or perhaps we’ve grown accustomed to packed bookstores such as the New England Mobile Book Fair.
A good amount of space was taken up by the café (which serves wine!) and we found some shelves were not fully stocked. However, perhaps we should chalk that up to growing pains as I overheard the store manager telling another customer that books are flying off the shelf and they’re trying to keep up with the demand. The graphic novel section, for example, had perhaps 30 books in a space that could easily hold 200-250.
The decor was clean and I especially loved the flying books and Harry Potter brooms suspended from the ceiling. Great touch.
Although, as I mentioned, there were gaps in the collection, we were still able to browse for quite a while. This was at times difficult due to the number of people in the store on this rainy Father’s Day as well as the low shelves in small nooks. We spent almost $100 on books so it was a successful trip, for us and the bookstore, and an interesting experience. At the register I willingly gave my email address, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for workshops by Mr. Kinney and other special events taking place in the little bookstore who could in the center of Plainville, MA.