March 17, 2013 | Daniel Price, West Chester BID Program Manager
The Chester County Book Company (formerly the Chester County Book & Music Co.) recently announced they are re-opening at a smaller location in the West Goshen Shopping Center close to where they have been since 1982. It was last August that owner Kathy Simoneaux suggested they may cease operation altogether. This sparked a lot of interest from the local community with several people asking the BID to help save this iconic gem of the region.
In fact, the day the BID heard about the possible closing, we started a strategy to bring them downtown if at all possible.
That’s what we do, encourage businesses to open in our walkable shopping district. But we aren’t the business owner, the property owner, or the realtor. We’re a third party purely with the community’s best interest in mind. It is with that interest that I was one of the first people to reach out to the bookstore owner to see how we could get them to move downtown.
I didn’t know Kathy, but I did know the pulse of our town and that the bookstore would be a great fit. If we had one meeting, we had fifteen. I texted her at least twice a week, got store owners in downtown to make her a gift basket showcasing the downtown and arranged walk-throughs of all the possible properties.
Despite Kathy being very close to coming downtown, she decided to stay in the Goshen shopping center. A lot of reasons contributed to this decision, but none of them had to do with any dislike of the downtown or misunderstanding of what we’re about. It just wasn’t the right time.
In the process, the BID gained a friend and I had a valuable experience. The next opportunity is right around the corner. And we’re ready for it.
April 4, 2013 update: The music CD component of the defunct Chester County Book & Music Co. will be reincarnated into Electric Avenue Music at the Cambridge Square Shopping Center on East Gay. Outside the BID, but inside the Borough.
Contact Dan Price.