The Martinborough Bookshop opened in May 2019 in the centre of the wine village of Martinborough, Wairarapa, which lies approximately 85 kilometres north-east of Wellington, capital city of New Zealand.
Owned by me, Deborah Coddington, I've worked the greater part of my life in journalism, writing, and publishing. The store's housed in a hundred-year-old industrial building originally built as a garage and petrol station - Campbell's Garage. Today the space accommodates Martinborough Wine Merchants, The Village Cafe, and my bookshop.
Brenda Channer, who used to work in Wellington's dearly missed London Bookshops (before they were sold), then became a police officer, walked in my door one day and asked if she could help. By that she meant unpacking boxes. When I discovered what a voracious reader Brenda is, I nabbed her and now couldn't do without her wisdom, humour, advice, and debriefings over a posh gin on Friday evening at Cool Change in the Martinborough Square. (But Brenda could do without people poking their noses around the door, peering at her, and exclaiming, "You're not Deborah.")
I've made mistakes. I've taken hits. But the highs are fantastic. Books are our friends, and as such introduce us to friends.
At first the store - originally the garage workshop complete with the 'pit' covered by a sheet of hardwood - had no coverings on the concrete floors. Until a customer, John, suggested rugs. I was doubtful. Elderly (that includes me), people with walkers (not me yet), wheelchairs, young children, may trip on the curled up corners. John explained he'd just returned from the Middle East. "I'm in the military. I brought back half a container of Persians.
"Rugs." He added noting my puzzled look. "I'll bring some in. You can place them around, see how they go, and keep them here, my treat."
Or words to that effect.
And so a new friend.
My shop's not all things to all people. For example, I'm no prude but I won't stock books with 'F***' , 'Tits' or 'Farts' in the title because my late Mum would not approve. Happy for you to buy those at other shops.
But I do have a motto, it's "Books You'll Want to Keep".