Saturday, 25 September 2021

New chapter for bookshop

A NEW manager has taken over at the Bell Bookshop in Henley.

Hilary Redhead succeeds Alison Rosby who has retired after 15 years at the Bell Street store.

Her appointment coincides with the shop being refurbished.

Ms Redhead, 48, who lives above the shop, has been a bookseller for 25 years, having spent 15 years at the Bell Bookshop and 10 years at Blackwells in Oxford before that. She said: “It is quite a challenge but I am looking forward to it. We are going to try introducing lots of different things like reading groups, author events and a children’s loyalty card.

“We are going to try to up our game and be more proactive and part of the community, which maybe we haven’t been as much in the past.” The shop was closed for a week last month while the interior was repainted and new lighting fitted.

The floor space was expanded when a neglected stockroom was turned into a new area for gift cards and stationery. There is also a new seating area, till system and flooring.

The shop was one of six in Henley to receive a grant from the town council’s shop front improvement scheme.Ms Redhead said: “It is looking very fresh and clean because we hadn’t redecorated for about 12 years.

“The old stockroom was damp and not being used so we thought we would expand the shop a little bit.

“Our customers really like it. We have had lots of positive feedback. We have lots of very dedicated customers, who used to come in as children and now bring in their own children.”

An event will be held at the shop on Saturday, October 11 as part of Books Are My Bag, a national campaign to celebrate bookshops.

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