MILLBURN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The town of Millburn is famous for its deli sandwiches.
But now the town can boast about its new bookstore — the first one there in more than 25 years.
At a time when so many people are buying digital books online, this shop has high hopes of thriving.
Millburn is a charming New Jersey town lined with boutique clothing stores, restaurant and a movie theater on Main Street. But for a quarter century, the downtown area has been lacking a bookstore. That is, until Nadege Nicoll opened The Book House a month ago and began a new chapter in the story of Millburn.
“We live in such a contentious world, I wanted to have a place where people could feel that they could come come and feel that their opinion would be respected,” she told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.
So Nadege created a cozy space for kids to explore and welcoming spot for adults to read and think while enjoying a fresh cup of coffee in an era of e-reading technology and online shopping.
“Did anybody say ‘You’re crazy to open a bookstore in 2018?'” Layton asked.
“Yeah, actually my builder. When he first came and I showed him the space and he said ‘What are you going to do?’ I’m like, ‘a bookstore,’ he’s like ‘You’re mad! Good luck to you!'” she replied.
The writer and mother found a way to defy digital by offering something you can’t get on a screen or shipped to your door. So far, customers have embraced the idea of bringing back brick and mortar.
“It’s nice to just see the books, touch it,” said customer Sophie Lee.
“We have a place to gather,” said author Beth Nydick. “That feeling like you belong to something.”
In fact, as some big box stores have closed stores, multiple published reports show the opening of independent book stores is back on the rise, increasing by a third since 2009.
It comes down to personal touch.
One of the core business principals at The Book House is social responsibility – wanting to give back to the community, Layton reported. For example, when you buy a greeting card, a sandwich is donated to a local organization that helps the homeless.
It’s that kind of spirit that Nadege hopes will inspire customers to pop in and pick up a book.