Bookstore browsers and readers of all ages, rejoice: Edgartown Books, one of the Island’s two bookstores, will open today under new ownership.
The Main street store, which was put on the market earlier this year, was purchased last week by Jeffrey and Joyce Sudikoff, Los Angeles residents who own a home in Edgartown. The sale of the building and the business closed last Friday, May 18.
The building was sold for $1.525 million; the sale of the business was not included in the price.
Mr. Sudikoff was the founder and chief executive officer of IDB Communications Group Inc. and a former part owner of the Los Angeles Kings hockey team. The Sudikoffs have been coming to the Vineyard since the 1970s and Mr. Sudikoff is from the Boston area, said Susan Mercier, the former manager who has once again been hired to manage the store.
The couple already had an interest in getting involved in the community, Ms. Mercier said, when they heard the news that the bookstore was for sale.
In January, former owners David and Ann LeBreton announced their plans to sell the bookstore, which they had operated for more than a decade. The store has been opened for limited hours over the spring. The LeBretons were clear that they hoped the building would remain a bookstore.
“It was our goal all along,” Mr. LeBreton told the Gazette this week. “It took a little time, it took a little patience, it took a little luck, but finally it all fell into place.”
Ms. Mercier said the new owners’ focus is on the community, and keeping a bookstore in Edgartown.
“They’re going to be great, great stewards of the building and the business,” she said. “They know the value of having an independent bookstore in a small town.”
One of their first acts was reinstating Ms. Mercier, who worked for Edgartown Books for several years, and for the bookstore’s previous incarnation, Bickerton and Ripley. She left in March 2010 for personal reasons, and said it’s “surreal” to be back at the bookstore as manager. “I can’t thank them enough,” she said of the Sudikoffs. With her youngest child going off to college, “the timing just couldn’t be better.”
To ready for this new chapter and the arrival of customers looking for summer reading, the building received a facelift, both inside and out: books and shelves were covered in drop cloths last week as painting was underway, and the outside of the building received a fresh coat of paint and some new landscaping.
There’s yet to be a decision about whether the store will be open year-round, Ms. Mercier said, but it will be open at least from April through December.
Ms. Mercier has been working long days getting ready for the store’s reopening today at 9 a.m., though she said things will largely stay the same.
“I don’t see any change to the way the business is run,” she said.
The painted murals on the staircase and the children’s corner will remain, as will a focus on community events and author readings. As in the past, Ms. Mercier said, the bookstore will work with local authors to host events and feature books with Island connections.
Those looking for a beach read can seek guidance from familiar faces; Ms. Mercier said most of the staff of “incredible booksellers” are coming back.
There will be some changes, though, with the store set to start carrying periodicals, looking into a delivery service, and having a greater online presence. Soon, Ms. Mercier said, people will be able to purchase from Edgartown Books online, and the store might start offering e-books.
Ms. Mercier said she also wants to work on more community events, such as book groups and appreciation nights for teachers or hospital workers. To her, this is giving back to a community that has embraced its bookstores.
“The Island can service two bookstores,” Ms. Mercier said, referring to the other main Vineyard bookstore, Bunch of Grapes in Vineyard Haven. “Amazon is our biggest competitor right now.”
But Ms. Mercier is hopeful that customers will choose the local bookstore over online shopping.
“People want to go back to their neighborhood stores,” she said. “The Island is very, very good to us.”