The Bookshop – Celebrating 30 years!

The Bookshop, an EGBA member for many years, is celebrating 30 years in East Grinstead.  In recognition of this milestone, John has kindly shared with us a bit of history on The Bookshop that we hope you find interesting.

I first turned the key in the door of The Bookshop on 19th August 1991.

I had been in the book trade for seven years prior to that, but it was very daunting taking over responsibility for a brand new book shop, as I`d never run one before!

I fell in love with Tudor House, the name of the building, the very first time I saw it, well who wouldn`t, I`m biased I know, but it is the most beautiful building on our high street, don`t tell my neighbours!

Initially I had the lease on the building, and my first aim was just to get through to Christmas without messing up. And I did, watch this video for the story

Throughout the nineties I set about securing the business, spending more money on stock and fittings every time I had some, and little by little The Bookshop became a unique bookshop with a world wide reputation.

Over the years, The Bookshop survived the collapse of the net book agreement, which resulted in the closure of over eighty five percent of independent bookshop in the following years, a fire which nearly took the whole building down, organised crime, an unexploded world war two grenade, and  boom and busts a plenty.

But through it all, it has been so much fun, meeting so many interesting people ,selling so many magical books, and living my dream. I definitely found the thing I was meant to do in life, and to this day I just love coming to work. Running the `Twas the Sunday Before Christmas event for years, and together with Ginnie Waddingham helping to persuade my fellow traders to inaugurate The Big Reveal, campaigning for the McIndoe statue, running a radio book club with Meridian FM, and then hosting my own book program with Samantha Day on Meridian, writing a column in the local paper, when we had one, and for the past few years building a very successful chess community have been just a few highlights of my time here.

East Grinstead is a very special town, and I like to think that I have played my part in putting The Bookshop at the very heart of it. As someone has recently said, here`s to my next thirty years.

Author: Lisa Thompson
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