ReMain, a part of The Schmidt Family Foundation and owner of the building that is home to Mitchell’s Book Corner, has announced the formation of Nantucket Book Partners by Wendy Hudson, the owner of Bookworks on Broad Street for 18 years. and one of the organizers of Nantucket’s first Book Festival this June 15th-17th. Nantucket Book Partners will run both Mitchell’s Book Corner and Bookworks as full-service, year-round bookstores.
“At ReMain, we like to incubate new endeavors that inspire and support the next generation in a changing marketplace, and we also want to support downtown’s key institutions to help ensure they are in place for the long term,” said Wendy Schmidt, founder of ReMain and president of The Schmidt Family Foundation. “Since we purchased Mitchell’s in 2008, the bookselling business has seen unprecedented market shifts in the explosive popularity of e-readers and the success of online giants like Amazon.com. Independent booksellers in every market are working overtime to develop sustainable business models for their stores. Here on Nantucket, we are exceptionally fortunate to have two independent bookstores, and now, for them to combine forces while maintaining their individual characters is a realistic approach for successfully engaging this industry-wide challenge.”
Mary Jennings had been running Mitchell’s since the retirement of Mimi Beman four years ago. Mitchell’s was founded in 1968 by Henry “Mitch” Mitchell and Mary Allen Havemeyer and later run by their daughter Mimi Beman, who passed away in 2010.
“I truly believe that collaboration rather than competition is the best course for the island’s bookstores,” Wendy said. “Mitchell’s Book Corner and Bookworks will each retain their own unique personalities, but by functioning cooperatively we’ll be able to strengthen both entities and offer even more for the island’s readers.”
“The idea is to retain the best parts of each beloved store while expanding what we offer through less duplication and more cooperation. One web site, one events and offsite program, one point of sale system (sharing customer loyalty, gift card, and inventory information), yet two unique destinations that enhance downtown Nantucket. We plan to launch activities and outreach upstairs at Mitchell’s, operate with employee profit-sharing, create a volunteer program, and figure out many other ways to involve the community. Fun stuff.”
“This industry is in flux, but it has great potential if we approach it creatively in this special place. Embracing technology and listening to our customers will be the keys to success. We invite everyone to help us invent the next chapter for the stores, so please watch for new about a customer survey, dates for focus groups, and other invitations for feedback.”