A letter on Northshire Books’ next chapter

Dear Editor,

It is with excitement, confidence, and sadness that I announce that the Northshire Bookstores are passing out of Morrow ownership.

I started the process of selling the stores before Covid, but the pandemic reinforced that the time was right for me to move onto other things. When thinking about selling, my main worry was always finding someone – or two – who had the right sensibilities as well as the chops; someone who appreciated The Book, the art of bookselling, and our amazing staff and who also had the background, energy, vision, and resources to carry the bookstores into future decades. Amazingly, my first conversation led to Clark and Lu French of Manchester, Vt., who are the new owners of Northshire Bookstores.

My parents started the original store in September of 1976. We lived in a dark apartment underneath the bookstore. I was 9. While the ladder leading to the trap door in the floor of the service desk area was very cool, I was not coaxed into bookselling full time until 1998. It was just for a couple of years to help my parents with an expansion… And here we are 23 years later.

Perhaps it is fitting that I am at a loss for words, given how many words we have shepherded from soul to soul over the decades. What is bookselling without paradox, irony, humor, hope and fear, and a whole lotta hard work? The books that have lived in the stores are so varied and numerous, like a beach with each grain of sand a different color. But, as I sit here letting memories flow over me, it is the people I am most grateful for – the amazing colleagues who have worked at the bookstores, the inspirational authors who have convened with us in Manchester and Saratoga, the kindred souls at other bookstores and at publishing houses, and the generations of guests who have made all this possible for us. What a beautiful adventure! I am grateful to all of you – thank you!

In the midst of Covid last summer I received a letter from a customer which started, “Over the last 45 years your bookstore has been both a salvation and inspiration for our family.” We have tried our best to live up to the highest standards of independent bookselling and to serve the communities that have supported our mission. It has been an honor.

My last request is that you welcome Clark and Lu into the Northshire family and support them as they make the bookstores even better in the coming years.

With gratitude,

Chris Morrow

Manchester, Vt.

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