The Hippo


May 31, 2020








 The Bookery 

Address: 844 Elm St., Manchester 
More info:, 836-6600

A new page
Independent bookstore opens in Manchester


 By Angie Sykeny
Book lovers in the Manchester area finally have a place to call home. The Bookery, an independent bookstore and the only one of its kind in the Queen City, celebrated its grand opening last week on Elm Street, in the space formerly occupied by Alpha Loft. 
Founder Liz Hitchcock and general manager Liz Cipriano have been working on the concept for years. There was a need, they said, for a new kind of hangout destination in downtown.
“Say you’ve already eaten dinner, and you’ve already seen your entertainment at the Palace [Theatre],” Hitchcock said. “If you’re not interested in bars, there isn’t much else to do.”
“This [bookstore] is an alternative for people who aren’t into the bar scene,” Cipriano added. “We’re serving a part of the population that didn’t currently have a space like this.” 
The layout of The Bookery is open and spacious, with different sections of books labeled by genre, including a children’s section, complete with a life-sized decorative tree that juts out from the wall and has branches, illuminated by twinkling lights, that curl up and extend across the ceiling. There are a number of nooks where people can sit and flip through a book, plus a living room-style area with a couch and chairs surrounding a “fireplace” — it’s a television screen with a video simulation of a fire — and a multi-shelved mantel, filled with books. 
“We wanted to create these separate areas where you can relax, that are private but still part of the entire space,” Cipriano said. 
“We want it to feel homey,” Hitchcock added. “We want people to feel comfortable and spend some time here.” 
The back half of the store is occupied by a cafe and dining area, where people can grab some light fare like soups, salads, sandwiches and pastries, or a beverage. The menu has a selection of coffee, tea, beer and wine. 
The Bookery plans to maintain an active schedule of community events, such as author visits and book signings, live music, kids activities and storytimes, workshops and TED Talks-like lectures on various topics by teachers and professors from local institutions. There’s also a conference room in the back of the store that Hitchcock and Cipriano decided to retain as a place for book clubs, birthday parties and other gatherings. 
“We believe bookstores are extremely important for the community,” Hitchcock said. “They take on the personality of the community they’re in, kind of like the heart and soul of the community.” 
The Bookery’s inventory is thoughtfully curated by store staff to include a range of genres, with a particularly sizeable selection for kids and young adults, which is the largest and fastest-growing market for book sales, Hitchcock said. It also includes a selection of books with a New Hampshire focus and books by New Hampshire authors. 
“It’s fascinating to me how we have these amazing places for visual artists, like the Currier [Museum of Art], and performing artists, like the Palace [Theatre], but nothing for the literary arts,” Hitchcock said. “Now, there is a place that local authors can identify as their home.”  
Bookstores are as relevant today as they were before the digital age, Hitchcock said; they’re just used differently. Many people who are looking for a particular book will buy the book online rather than search for it at their local bookstores. It’s when they don’t know what to read next, she said, that people head to the bookstore. 
“We have a staff here that is extremely [well-read]. We’re book folk,” Hitchcock said. “We can help you find that special little hidden gem.” 
“And we hope that people ask for it,” Cipriano said. 

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