Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it, and Taylor Berry learned a lot when she closed Harbor Books on Main Street, Sag Harbor. “I was trying to please everybody,” said Berry, whose enthusiasm for life bubbles over when she speaks. “Now I’ve realized I have to follow my own heart, my own instincts. But everyone is so supportive; everyone is waiting for this, anticipating this.”
Berry opens her new bookshop, Berry & Company, on Saturday, May 18, with those instincts for what she likes firmly in place. The new location is on Division Street (Route 114), in a space above Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee and the Sag Harbor Baking Company, with an outdoor area and a peak-roofed retail space that — despite the last-minute painting and construction — already feels like a magical treehouse.
“I added the Dobra tea a few years ago, at the other space, and what Dobra allowed me to do is get into all the fun, witchy stuff that I love,” she said, laughing. “And that evolved over time. I added in things like essential oils, smudging sticks, the Whiskey River soap line, that’s going to continue and grow here.”
Those who have been around the area for a while will remember the Metaphysical Books & Tools store at 83 Main Street, Sag Harbor, which has been closed for almost a decade, about as long as Berry has been in the area. Berry & Company plans to offer many of the products one could get at the extinct new-age shop, like crystals, cards, smudge sticks, and more.
Berry also has a place in her heart for CBD products, used mindfully, and will carry them as well.
“I was raised by a single mom, who owned a spa,” she said. “I love herbs. I love nature. I love the whole concept of the healing aspects of herbs and tea. And this is the space that will allow me to explore all of that in greater detail. It’s not just books.”
Visitors to the new space will be able to make their own smudge sticks from a variety of herbs Berry will carry.
With other bookstores in the area, and the ability to get a book the next day from the internet, Berry said, “I love books, I believe in books, but I think that booksellers and bookstores, at this time, need to be innovative. I don’t think there’s a substitution, algorithms or not, for a hometown bookseller who gets to know you and your tastes. Especially being a community bookstore. I know people. I know the community. I love being a part of this community,” she added.
“We are certainly always going to do author events of some sort, but I’m not really into traditional book signings and readings, unless that’s what the author is comfortable with,” she said. “I guess I’m really not into traditional anything. I like doing meet-and-greets, I like doing cocktail parties, I like collaborating with the other businesses in town.” She is already stepping outside the new space, cohosting events in other places, like the launch party on May 11 at the American Hotel which celebrated the publication of Jamie Brenner’s latest tome, “Drawing Home,” a book set in Sag Harbor with scenes at the American Hotel.
An upcoming event has Jessica Soffer, author of “Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots,” leading a workshop called “The Note.” “Without giving too much away,” Berry said, “she guides you through journaling and music. And it’s a beautiful thing.” With local Juli Everett of Knead & Seed, Berry plans evenings of “sip and spell, sex magic, and fun like that.” Expect further workshops on wine training, how to make your own teas, herbal education, and more.
“I guess it’s really a lifestyle store as much as a bookstore,” Berry said. “The store expresses me, and what I love, and what I think other people love.”
To learn more, visit www.berryandcosagharbor.com.