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Doylestown Bookshop celebrates a quarter century of life in the borough


Walking into the Doylestown Bookshop is like taking a deep breath. You’re just calmer and a little happier.

That sense of ease and warmth is all part of the world first begun by Pat Gerney, who bought the store, then named Village Green, in 1998. Now proudly owned and operated by Glenda Childs and her friendly team of booksellers, the independent bookshop’s charm has only been enhanced since she took the reins in 2012.

“When I bought the store,” said Childs, “my husband (and many others) thought brick and mortar was a thing of the past.” Barnes & Noble stores were on the rise and Amazon was starting its soaring mission to sell books cheap and fast.

But, Childs said, “I strongly believed we could do it and I strongly believed in the community.” She clearly was correct.

Sitting in the heart of the borough, the South Main Street business has been woven into the fabric of the town for 25 years. Here you’ll find newcomers mingling with those bringing their children to the store where they discovered their first books.

Seeing the store flourish and expanded to another location in Lahaska’s Peddlers Village in 2017, has been a dream come true for Childs. Married to a Nissan executive, the mother of three said she and her family moved a lot. “We moved so much, I never got to feel like part of a community,” but, it was something she hoped to build.

An avid reader since childhood and with a master’s degree in early childhood education, a bookstore seemed like a great way to accomplish just that. But, for a time that vision had to be set aside as she raised her family.

Then, in 2011, the dream deferred started taking shape and she spent the year visiting bookstores around the country, noting what she thought would make a successful one. During a stint in Nashville she met Thelma Kidd, who became a friend and mentor. Kidd, a highly successful bookseller in Tennessee and now a life transition coach, guided Childs as she developed her plan to be a bookstore owner.

“It’s important for women to be intentional about what they want to do,” said Childs, now 64. “In this case, I put my dreams on the front burner.”

She and her husband, Allen Childs, knew of Doylestown, and when she learned Gerney was selling, she made an offer.

Today, the thriving bookshop is not only a staple of the community, it’s established strong links with the Central Bucks School District, closing the store to host two-hour school visits, that replaced book fairs in the post-COVID world.

“They’re so much fun,” said Childs, “It’s like a carnival.”

The store holds off-site events, meeting with business leaders and librarians and frequently has community-wide discussions with authors. Noted for the kindness and knowledge of its employees, the bookshop is built on customer service, Childs said.

“Our inventory is carefully curated and based on what our customers read,” she noted. “It’s so important, the responsibility to provide books. We will stock any book or order it. We want all books in the hands of all readers.”

She finds Barnes & Noble’s recent opening of a “new prototype” store that’s much smaller and minimalistic, “ironic.”

In Childs’ stores, there’s a personality, a sense of belonging. “You walk through the store and get lost…you feel like you’re getting away from everything else,” she said.

Stacey Porter agreed. During a recent visit, the Upper Black Eddy woman said, “I like the intimacy of it, the attention to detail, I always find something special.” Besides books, there are unique gifts, local artwork, seasonal displays, puzzles, games and more.

For Childs, a bookstore has always been much more than a place where books are sold.

“We will never stop technology or big box stores,” she said. “What we can give our customers is an experience.”

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