Longtime Kent book store goes on market
For more than four decades, the House of Books has been more than a book store.
It has been a meeting place for friends, and an open door into imaginative worlds created by authors from around the world.
“It’s a special place, a labor of love,” said Robin J. Dill, who is the most recent owner of the 43-year-old store she purchased in 2013.
Dill has had success with the business but is now looking to start a new chapter in her life. On Feb. 26, she announced on Facebook her plans to sell the business, hopefully before fall.
The store will continue to remain open and offer events while on the market.
“I’ll miss the connection with the people,” Dill said. The customers “don’t just support the store, they want me to succeed.”
Dill said she was “brought to tears” reading the comments following her Facebook post.
Owning a book store “lights something up inside of you,” Dill said. “I still get (that feeling) every morning when I wake up.”
“I always feel any book store is an integral part of a community,” said Tim Good, who is a Kent business owner and president of the Kent Chamber of Commerce. “And House of Books portrays that without a shadow of a doubt.”
The business is nestled in an historic building on Main Street, with approximately 1,600 square feet of space that boasts hardwood floors throughout and features more than books.
The full-service store also carries an assortment of greeting cards, bookmarks, some small gifts, games and toys, and a few art and office supplies, all of which the owner carefully selects.
Resident Allan Priaulx expressed appreciation for the store’s presence in town throughout the decades.
“We’ve loved the House of Books since its beginning with Carol Hoffman, the amazing job Jim and Gini Blackketter did, and now with Robin,” Priaulx said.
“Robin has been a wonderful part of our community and we will miss her stewardship of this Kent institution. You can always find what you need at the House of Books ... or she will get it for you quickly.”
“I was already one of the store’s best customers,” Dill said.
When she purchased the store, tablets were becoming popular and people warned her about the potential “death of the book.” Dill said she set doubts and fears aside and pursued her dream because she “needed to be around the source for my love of books.”
“There’s no other perfect invention than the book,” she said. “They’re beautiful — the bindings, the paper, the ink … the magical smell.”
Developing relationships with her customers has been rewarding over the years.
She said she loves reading books and making recommendations to customers, many of whom eagerly seek suggestions.
“It’s such a privilege,” she said. “They just trust you.”
Additionally, Dill related the “magical” experience of observing the interaction among customers.
“Strangers will start talking about how a book changed their lives,” she said. “It’s a magical connection.”
Good described Dill as a “great literary oracle” whose recommendations to customers are insightful.
“She has the innate ability to direct people” to the right books, he said.
Dill is optimistic a buyer will step forward to keep “the business going,” citing the resurgence of independent book stores.
Stepping away from the business will afford her time to explore writing, another one of her favorite pastimes.
“We wish her the best of luck in her next endeavor and hope she finds a good buyer,” said Priaulx.
The store at 10 North Main St. will be open Sundays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through the end of April. After that, the store will be open Sundays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 860-927-4104, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.houseofbooksct.com or find the store on Facebook.