Exciting news for Boston book-lovers!
Brookline Booksmith has plans to expand their retail section, as well as add a cafe with a full liquor license!
The beloved independent bookstore in Coolidge Corner has been a staple for bibliophiles, aspiring writers, and established authors for nearly 60 years.
The owners hope to get started on their updated look in summer 2020 after taking over and transforming the adjacent Verizon store whose lease is up in June.
“To the best of my knowledge, it’s been quite a long time since anything adjacent to us has been available, so it’s a pretty unusual occurrence,” Booksmith co-owner and manager Peter Win told Boston.com. “Just that alone made it something that we really had to give some serious thought and consideration. The store has been here a long time and people love the space, but we’ve pretty much maximized what we can do with the space we have.”
The decision to add a cafe stems from the need for additional revenue options. Major chains like Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million tend to sell nearly as much coffee as they do books.
A cafe/bar will offer another revenue stream to keep Brookline Books up-to-date with a challenging market.
“What we’ve learned over the years is that just adding inventory doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to add sales,” Win said. “So when you start looking at more space and more rent, food and beverage certainly comes up. Many independent bookstores in the country have added cafes or simply coffee in some way, and that’s something we really had to consider looking into.”
Menu details are still in the works, but Win confirmed that the liquor license has already been approved for beer, wine, and cocktails - something patrons are very excited about!
“When the [Brookline Board of Selectmen] announced we were approved [for a liquor license], the room basically applauded,” Win said. “Both the lawyer we were working with and the architect said they had never seen that before. We really appreciate that kind of support. What we’ve heard from people is that people support our store, but also they support us being able to do more and being able to expand, to hopefully bring even more life to Coolidge Corner.”
The buildout into the Verizon space will begin in June with a goal to open to the public in the fall.
“In the 50-plus years this store has been here, it’s been a long time since there’s been a chance to do this,” Win said. “So the chance to further grow the store and change what we do — and do more — is really exciting for us.”