New owners embrace House of Books in Kent
House of Books in Kent has a new owner and has reopened at a temporary location.
Kent Center, LLC purchased the store June 21 from Robin Dill, who owned the shop since 2013.
“We had a great first day,” said Peter Vaughn, manager of the 43-year-old store.
“It’s quite meaningful to the people of Kent,” Vaughn said of the smooth transition.
The store is in full operation as the Little House of Books one door down at 4 North Main St. while the book shop’s permanent home at 10 North Main St. undergoes a complete renovation.
“In order to meet Robin’s objectives, we quickly agreed to Robin’s terms,” Hiram Williams, managing partner of Kent Center LLC, said of the purchase.
Williams said “a primary reason for purchasing the 10 North Main St. building in 2014 was to keep the House of Books in place anticipating that Robin would remain there for many years to come.”
Dill surprised Kent Barns with the Feb. 26 announcement that she planned to sell the business, where she had worked as the book-buyer and manager for nearly 10 years before becoming owner.
“As the landlord, we will facilitate this transition, because supporting a thriving serious independent bookstore in Kent has always been our objective,” Williams said.
“We wish Robin all the best, and we regret that Robin has chosen to sell her business and re-locate to another town,” he added.
The renovation at 10 North Main St. will include a new roof that will reproduce the building’s 90-year-old metal roof, window restoration, and foundation stabilization, as well as a complete re-wiring, Williams said.
The work is expected to take a year.
“Kent Barns has some wonderful ideas and plans for the store going forward,” Dill said. “Keep reading, keep buying physical books and keep supporting your local businesses. It really does make all the difference.”
No. 109 Cheese Market — now housed at 7 Old Barn Road — will occupy the new space taking shape adjacent to 10 North Main St.
The renovated House of Books and No. 109 Cheese Market will be connected by an interior passageway.
Williams said the completion of No. 109 Cheese Market is expected to be summer 2020.
“We want customers to feel comfortable bringing their coffee and sitting down with a book or laptop in the House of Books,” Williams said.
“Connecting the businesses with a door is meant to encourage a gathering place for people to leisurely peruse books while enjoying coffee and a bite to eat,” he said.
No. 109 Cheese Market is owned by Monica and Todd Brown, who also operate a market and wine shop in Ridgefield.
Above the book shop will be a gallery to be used by the House of Books.
Prior to Dill, the book store was owned by Carol Hoffman, and then Jim and Gini Blackketter.
Housed in a complex comprised of antique barns, restored buildings and new construction, Kent Barns offers art and antiques galleries, food, unique shops and other businesses.
The park-like setting on North Main Street and Route 341 is an ideal spot to enjoy Second Saturdays, a special event each month from 1 to 4 p.m.
A variety of events take place including open houses, gallery openings and receptions, book signings, live music, plus complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres.
For more information, call the store at 860-927-4104.