When you walk into Edgartown Books these days, you’ll see a number of familiar faces, including Susan Mercier. The longtime manager of the bookstore left for a bit but is now back, and more enthusiastic about books than ever.
You’ll also see some new faces, including owner Joyce Sudikoff, who also is pretty excited to be there. Both long time Summer residents, she and her husband Jeffrey, bought Edgartown Books earlier this year.
Many people who are meandering through the isles of Edgartown books searching for that perfect beach read or gift for some unfortunate soul stuck on the mainland, have no idea how close we were to losing one of the stores that helps make Main Street as special as it is.
In January, the previous owners, the LeBretons, announced that is was time for them to close the doors of Edgartown Books. Can you imagine? Where were you going to get that new book to replace 50 Shades of Grey that you read in one day instead of having it last for two weeks?
There were so many people saddened by the prospect of losing this crucial part of our community. Luckily, a friend thought to forward the newspaper article about the closing on to Joyce & Jeffrey Sudikoff, who reside for the rest of the year outside of L.A.
Both Joyce & Jeffrey thought that the closing of this bookstore, that was such a vital part of Main Street in Edgartown, was so sad. Both book enthusiasts — especially Joyce — they have watched bookstores, big and small, close their doors in L.A, and the closing of Edgartown Books really struck a cord with them.
Jeffrey said to Joyce shortly after reading the email, “Would you like to run a bookstore?” Joyce considered it, and decided that it would be a good thing for them and for their East Coast community that they hold dear.
And just like that, the Sudikoff’s were the proud owners of Edgartown Books, building and all. Certainly not what either of them thought 2012 had in store for them. Since neither Joyce or Jeffrey had run a bookstore before, they brought back Susan, who had managed the bookstore for a number of years previously.
They closed on the property on May 18, and seven days later, Edgartown Books was open once again for business. I can’t imagine how crazy that week was for them.
When I met with Joyce and Susan at the store to talk about the “new” Edgartown Books, it seemed as though the two had been working together for years. Both excited for all of the changes, they laughed and joked with me and each other. They have an enthusiasm for the future of the bookstore that is contagious. All of this makes for a great work relationship, and I think the store will benefit from it.
Since the doors have been reopened, there has been a huge amount of support. Regulars are back with gusto, and they are seeing a resurgence in book buying. Yes people have their iPads and Kindles, but so many of us need the feel of the book when reading it — especially when at the beach.
Also, there is such a special social component to shopping at Edgartown Books. People come in and ask Nancy about the latest and greatest mystery books. People check out the staff picks which are always hot sellers, and of course, if you need a book that’s out of print or one that’s not in the store, Marcia can find it. Sorry Amazon, your computers have nothing on this gang of book lovers.
People are realizing that there is a need to keep “main street” America alive, and people want to come back to shopping in their community. As Joyce mentioned to me, even Target has a boutique now that sells from small, unique specialty stores.
With big book chains closing their doors, she believes that independent bookstores are making a comeback as well. Outside of L.A., where the Sudikoff’s also call home, there is not an independent anywhere near them, which is a sad fact, but here on Martha’s Vineyard, there are two within an eight mile radius, who are not competitors but rather supporters of each other. Where else can you find that?
We always talk about people stepping up to support local businesses, but also local businesses have to do their part for the community. Susan and Joyce believe this and so they accept other bookseller discount cards and of course the Island Club card. They want to help you want to shop at Edgartown Books.
A Summer Season Filled With Old Friends and New Events
Aside from saving the many of us from a boring, bookless Summer, Edgartown Books will be bringing us fantastic author signings, and there may even be a visit from a special big red dog. Yes, it is rumored that Clifford will be making an appearance so be on the lookout for those giant paw prints.
They are also bringing new events to book lovers and even dog lovers. In August, Edgartown Books will host its first party for dogs and their owners. Using Island author, Susan Wilson’s latest novel, The Dog Who Danced, as the basis for the event, there will be special treats for our furry friends and their owners. On an Island that loves its dogs, how has this not been done before? I love that they are thinking outside the box and creating new interest in books and the bookstore!
After things settle down a bit, Edgartown Books also plans to have different community events, including a children’s story time, events for teachers, and much more. It sounds like Joyce and Susan have a lot of fun things planned for us.
Before I left, I had to ask Joyce and Susan what they were reading. I was curious to see what these avid readers were interested in. Joyce is finishing Cousin Bette, an 1846 novel by French author Honoré de Balzac, and Susan is reading The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D, written by Nichole Bernier.
This author is a Vineyard regular and the book was actually written right down the street at Espresso Love. Edgartown Books will be hosting Nichole for a book signing next month.
As 2012 continues to bring significant changes to this small Island, this is one that is definitely for the better. Edgartown Books is a part of the community that is going to keep making its mark on our history because of the support of those who love and support the Vineyard. Thank you Joyce and Jeffrey for continuing to make a difference in this community.
A Little History on the Sudikoff’s
Jeffrey Sudikoff grew up in Boston and has been coming to the Vineyard since he was a kid. When he had his own family, he continued the tradition. For twenty years, Joyce & Jeffrey have rented a Summer house and brought their family here. The Vineyard is a very special place for them.
Five years ago they decided to buy a home on the Island. They have always been very involved and supportive of the Vineyard community, and now owning both a home and business here, has changed their relationship with the Island for the better.
Joyce is surprised at how many of her friends and people she meets tell her that it is their dream to own or work in a bookstore. She is enjoying being a part of the bookstore. For her it is interesting and a challenge, and in a way, she is continuing to do good here.