Acorn Books turning a new page

From left, Acorn Books owner Ginny Jewell and employees Ezzy Mondragon and Barry Jewell continue to pack up the store’s 40,000 books, moving them from the former Dover facility to its new location in Smyrna. (Delaware State News photo by Arshon Howard)

From left, Acorn Books owner Ginny Jewell and employees Ezzy Mondragon and Barry Jewell continue to pack up the store’s 40,000 books, moving them from the former Dover facility to its new location in Smyrna. (Delaware State News photo by Arshon Howard)

DOVER — Acorn Books, the only general-interest bookstore in Kent County, will start its new chapter with only a bit of lag time between the closing of the last one.

Acorn’s owner announced in May it was closing the doors on its location in the Gateway West shopping center in Dover but remained hopeful of finding a more affordable location.

On Friday an announcement went up on the store’s Facebook page, “We got a new location!”

That location is a bit farther north, in Smyrna at 2421 S. DuPont Blvd. The building, currently housing Delaware Outdoors, is on the corner of South DuPont Boulevard and Big Oak Road.

“It’s pretty funny that we’re Acorn Books and we’re going to be on Big Oak Road,” said owner Ginny Jewell. “It’s funny how that worked out.”

Delaware Outdoors provided archery, fishing and hunting services and supplies.

On that business’s Facebook page, owners say its closing is due to not being able to compete with “big box” stores any longer.

Everything is marked down 20 percent to 50 percent before its doors close in July.

Ms. Jewell said she jumped on the opportunity as soon as she could.

“We started the negotiation process prior to them closing,” Ms. Jewell said. “It took a while, but now everything is finalized.

But she said the transition is a bittersweet experience.

“We were dedicated to the Dover area,” Ms. Jewell said. “We were trying to bring the book scene back in Dover.

“I know everyone isn’t going to be happy about the move. But we exhausted all of our possibilities. We couldn’t find any options in Dover. We found a deal that will allow us to move forward and grow our business.”

Ms. Jewell, who worked at Atlantic Books on DuPont Highway, before it closed in 2011, opened Acorn Books in September 2012.

The store closed earlier this month due to rent costs and Ms. Jewell’s first-time experience of being a store owner, she said.

“When I worked at Atlantic there were a lot employees and we only have four,” Ms. Jewell said. “They purchased their books in bulk, while we ordered books in ones and twos. This time around we have to keep our overhead down and continue to gain more exposure.”

Ms. Jewell hopes to do that by having more events, which may include poetry slams, writers’ workshops, author signings and book clubs.

“We used to hold a lot of events,” Ms. Jewell said. “But due to our space we had do it in the store and sometimes it was either during or after store hours.

“This go-around we have a separate building for them to go to.”

But in the meantime, Ms. Jewell and her employees have been focusing on moving everything with hopes of having a soft opening in the first week of August.

That may seem like a not-so easy task to some, but Ms. Jewell is ready.

It took them about a week to pack up the store’s 40,000 books.

“That’s a lot of books,” Ms. Jewell said. “Every day for eight hours that’s all that we did.”

Despite the work, Ms. Jewell is excited about the new opportunity.

“We’re really looking forward to the new start,” she said. “After our soft opening, hopefully in September we’ll be open for business”

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