Stanza plans to open Nov. 11
The Snooki Shop, owned by Nicole Polizzi, the former Jersey Shore star, brought some levity to the east end of Main Street in Beacon. But it closed over the summer and now a bookstore is coming in with plans to create some intellectual fun.
Andrea Talarico will oversee day-to-day operations at Stanza Books. She opened a shop in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and later worked at New York City bookstores and with purveyors of fancy pens and stationery.
Her partner, Mark Harris, is an interior designer who has crafted creative spaces for museums, HBO and Netflix. He will create the store’s atmosphere, which will include listening stations and other installations designed to drive interaction.
“We’re going to make this cozy, not corporate,” said Harris.
The couple moved to Beacon this past summer — to an apartment above The Snooki Shop. They were making plans for a bookstore when the landlord told them the ground-floor space would be available.
By late October, the 750-square-foot space was filled with chin-high piles of boxes and illuminated by antique chandeliers. It will have its grand opening on Second Saturday, Nov. 11.
The store will also be home to Sacred Consort Media, a new independent publisher. Its first title will be Hekate’s Return, by Harris, in which witches battle a bull god during the Bronze Age. A release party is scheduled for Nov. 18.
It may seem counterintuitive to open a brick-and-mortar bookstore in 2023, especially in Beacon, which has Binnacle Books and a used bookstore that benefits the Howland Public Library. An independent bookstore just opened in Newburgh, as well. But according to the American Booksellers Association, based in White Plains, more than 600 bookstores have opened since the pandemic began in 2020, including 17 in the Hudson Valley this year alone.
“Part of it is the ‘great resignation,’ where people cashed in their retirements to pursue their dream of opening a bookstore and took advantage of empty storefronts and the renaissance of reading that occurred during the lockdowns,” said Allison Hill, the association’s CEO. “People are also committed to shopping local.”
Talarico and Harris are sanguine about their business model. “People say it’s crazy to open a bookstore, but people are interacting more with their neighborhoods, especially if they work from home,” said Talarico. “We can do things that Amazon can’t and I believe there is room for all of us.”
She points to the development of hybrid consumers who mix analog and digital experiences. “There’s a vinyl [record] store in Beacon that’s thriving, but I’m sure that their customers also listen to Spotify and stream music on their phones,” she said. “It’s the same for readers; they buy brand-new titles and used books, go to the library and probably use a Kindle or read online.”
This type of consumer exists across all demographics, she said: “Screen fatigue is real. YA [young adult] and the middle grades are exploding. Young people really are reading print.”
Stanza Books will be located at 508 Main St. in Beacon. Call 845-440-3906 or visit stanzabooks.com. The grand opening is scheduled for Nov. 11 from 6 to 9 p.m.