WARWICK, N.Y. -- Thomas Roberts never imagined he'd be the owner of an independent bookstore.
"I thought after 45 years of living in Manhattan I would gracefully be put out to pasture somewhere, happily reading a book under a big oak tree," he said.
Instead, the former stage manager/production coordinator -- he worked with Eartha Kitt, Charles Pierce, Maureen McGovern, Dixie Carter and many others before turning to a career as a social worker working with HIV/AIDS patients -- "retired" in Warwick six and a half years ago.
That's when he turned to his partner, Joe Justin, and said they had to open some kind of store. After much research -- as well as the realization that there was no independent bookstore in Orange County -- the two embarked on their grand adventure.
The five-and-a-half-year-old business, modeled after a homey VIctorian bookstore where there's a treasure on every shelf (think a combination of new, used, and rare books, plus other collectibles and curiosities) is all about community. To that end, there are always a host of signings, readings and seminars, making the bookstore a buzzing community hub.
"Community has been key to the store's success," explained Roberts.
To that end, he serves on the board of the Warwick Chamber of Commerce and is the current President of the Warwick Merchants Guild. He also sponsors/supports various community events such as free concerts on Railroad Green, free horse and wagon rides during “Home for the Holidays,” school PTA’s, sports teams, church “Tricky Tray" and more.
The Warwick resident said it was always important to him to create a store that not only sold merchandise but entertained as well.
Coming up next: the Warwick Children’s Book Festival on Saturday, Oct. 7. Sponsored by the Albert Wisner Public Library, the Festival features over 60 children’s authors and illustrators who will be present on Railroad Green to meet folks and sign books.
As for what folks are reading now -- Roberts said the most anticipated book of the fall is Hillary Rodham Clinton’s book, “What Happened.” He's also looking forward to Dan Brown’s latest “Origin," which will be out in early October and John Grisham's new book, “Rooster Bar.”
Go to www.yeoldewarwickbookshoppe.com for more details and upcoming events.
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