Sag Harbor’s new bookstore, Harbor Books, is opening in time for Thanksgiving, taking over the space at 20 Main Street that was previously host to BookHampton.
Taylor Rose Berry, the owner of Harbor Books, envisions her store as a community hub, that does much more than just sell books.
“Being able to maintain a viable store was never really a concern to me, because I believe the soul of the bookstore is what makes it viable or not,” she says during an interview Monday.
She wants Harbor Books to be a place for people to pass the hours on a rainy day, or just stop in and say hello while strolling through the village. “My vision is a place where the community can really hang their hat, and find a spot to relax and hang out.” She invokes a 1930s Paris salon.
“There’s something magical in bookstores, and I think you feel that the moment you walk over the threshold,” Berry says.
Berry was an employee of BookHampton, primarily working out of the small chain’s East Hampton store as a bookseller and community navigator. Before working there, her background was in restaurants. She says the industries are very similar in principle, because customer service comes first.
A former Babylon resident, Berry began working in the restaurant industry at age 13, bussing tables. She worked her way up to hostess, waitress, bartender and general manager. Then four years ago, she moved to Sag Harbor.
Berry, now 27, says that when BookHampton closed its Sag Harbor location last year, she missed having a bookstore there, and that motivated her to open her own. She acknowledges that Sag Harbor is home to one other bookstore, Canio’s Books, however, she says Harbor Books differs in that it focuses on new books. “What they do is so different and really very unique,” she says of Canio’s.
Since getting Harbor Books in motion, things have moved swiftly. “We started construction 17 days ago today,” Berry says. That only leaves her Tuesday to get everything in place for Wednesday’s opening. She has kept the windows papered, as she wants everyone to be surprised when they first walk in.
Without giving away any specifics, she would say, “I’ve warmed the space a little but—it was a bit sterile.” She promises the children’s section will have some enchanting features.
The store will carry a mix of fiction and nonfiction, as well as newspapers and magazines. Berry says she aims to meet all customers’ literary desires, whatever their religious, political, or other inclinations are.
Harbor Books will be open seven days a week, Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Depending on demand, the shop may stay open later on any given night. For more information, call Harbor Books at 631-808-3401 or visit HarborBooksSGH.com.