Phoenix News

  • There is a brand new van parked in front of Phoenix Books Essex, and it is all decked out in colorful decals identifying it as the property of Phoenix Books. Why, one wonders, after opening a brand new store in Rutland in September of 2015 and acquiring Phoenix Books Misty Valley in Chester in May of 2016, did owner Mike DeSanto decide to buy a Ford Transit Connect in August?

    "Because there is an untapped market for increased sales to off-site customers and we need a vehicle to get the books to those customers - and those customers need to know who is bringing them their books!" says DeSanto.

    The staff at Phoenix Books feels there is potential to compete in school book fairs, business to business relationships, off-site author events, supporting authors at their speaking engagements and creating mobile bookstores for large community events. The van will allow Phoenix to do this in the market areas served by all four locations - Chittenden County and the areas surrounding Rutland and Chester - and the store is exploring the possibility of a delivery service, too.

    Two years ago, Phoenix Books brought 80 cartons of books for sale at the Vermont Flower Show held at the Champlain Fairgrounds in Essex Junction, Vermont. The business also brought portable point-of-sales equipment, displays, portable bookcases and numerous booksellers to assist with the endeavor of three days. Booksellers had to cobble together a rag tag fleet of vehicles to move all that to the site and back again afterwards. Instead of private vehicles or renting a van, Phoenix now has a company-owned vehicle to handle all the transport issues.


    "We believe there are many other opportunities like the garden show. And we have some amazing staff right now, so this off-site program will allow folks a chance to expand their horizons and bring in new business for Phoenix Books in a way they may not have thought about before," said DeSanto.

    Phoenix Books can now offer to deliver an endlessly varied mobile book store experience to any customer or group interested in adding books into their program. The van also serves as a highly visible, eye-catching mobile billboard and advertisement, a not insignificant value added part of the equation.
    Posted 10/04/2016
  • Phoenix Books is launching two new weekly storytimes:  Phoenix Books Essex began holding a Whole Book Approach Storytime in August. Phoenix Books Rutland will launch a storytime on September 28th, the one-year anniversary of the store's Grand Opening. These are in addition to Phoenix Books Burlington's Saturday Storytime, which the business has hosted for several years.
     
    Phoenix Books Rutland's storytime will run weekly on Wednesdays at 11am. The first event will be hosted by a special guest, the Director of Rutland's Paramount Theater. "We're thrilled to have Bruce Bouchard from the Paramount Theater as our celebrity storyteller," says Tricia Huebner, co-owner and manager of Phoenix Books Rutland. "What a great way to launch our Wednesday story hours!"

    Phoenix Books Essex's Whole Book Approach Storytime is being held weekly on Saturdays at 1pm, and will move to 11am beginning on October 1st. The “Whole Book Approach” is a storytime model that explores the ways that words, pictures, and book design work together to tell a complete story. It was developed by children’s literature scholar and author Megan Dowd Lambert in conjunction with the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. The concept of “Whole Book Approach” was sparked by a study of Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), a collaborative effort of psychologists and art museum docents. The adult leads the children in reading the book, rather than reading the book at/to them. VTS questions are applied to picture book art by asking readers “What is happening in this picture?” “What do you see that makes you say that?” and “What else do you see?” One reader may see a great, big dragon in the clouds, another may simply see rain in the forecast; there are no right or wrong answers.

    Most weeks, the event is hosted by Phoenix bookseller Johanna Simmons. "I find the Whole Book Approach to be an incredibly effective story time model," says Simmons. "I love the way it encourages us to think outside the box, invites us to search for details in a book, and empowers us to approach each reading with curiosity and confidence."

    Simmons studied the Whole Book Approach with its creator, Megan Dowd Lambert, as part of her graduate education at Simmons College. The course focused on book design and its role in the overall narrative; paying close attention to trim size, orientation, cover art, endpapers, typography, and other components of the codex. Lambert - who is also the author of a book on the method, Reading Picture Books With Children - demonstrated her story time technique with young visitors at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, and her students were able to observe firsthand how well children - of all ages and learning abilities - responded.

    Phoenix Books Burlington's Saturday Storytime, held Saturdays at 11am, has been running since 2012. This year, the bookstore has begun partnering with local co-operative grocery store City Market on some of the weekly storytimes. For example, after reading Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, children made caterpillar-shaped snacks from grapes and other fresh foods. Phoenix's next event with City Market, a Halloween-themed storytime, will feature witches' brooms made from pretzels, cheese, and chives, and will take place on October 29th. Keep an eye out for more events with City Market in the future!

    These storytime events are free and open to all ages. For more information, please call Phoenix Books Essex at 802-872-7111, Phoenix Books Burlington at 802-448-3350, or Phoenix Books Rutland at 802-855-8078.
    Posted 09/12/2016
  • Bookselling this Week recently reported on Phoenix's support for Syrian refugees in Vermont. 

    The article begins:

    "Will Notte is using his role as senior bookseller at Phoenix Books in Rutland, Vermont, to educate residents about Syria and its people, following the mayor’s controversial proposal to let up to 100 Syrian refugees settle in the city.

    "Notte, who also serves as the president of Rutland’s Board of Aldermen and is strongly supportive of Mayor Chris Louras’ proposal, has set up a book display at the front of the store to provide residents with information about Syria and the plight of its citizens fleeing the Islamic State."

    "'People have been very excited about the books, and we’ve sold a good amount,” said Notte, who started at Phoenix Rutland when it opened last fall and also works as a freelance editor. “Some people come in specifically because they are looking for information about Syria, while other people come in looking for something else and see the display and are drawn to it.'

    "Books on display include Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War by Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami (The University of Chicago Press); Soup for Syria by Barbara Abdeni Massaad (Interlink); I’m New Here, a children’s book about the experience of young refugees, by Anne Sibley O’Brien (Charlesbridge); and The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches From Syria by Janine di Giovanni (Liveright), which has been the display’s best-selling book to date, according to Notte."

    Read the full article at Bookselling this Week!

     

     

     

     

    Posted 08/25/2016
  • Each year, thousands of Vermonters weigh in on the state’s “best of Vermont” awards in over 150 categories for the "Seven Daysies." Seven Days announced the results today, and Phoenix Books was named as the winner of the "Best Bookstore" Award!

    "It is an honor to be awarded the Seven Daysies Award for Best Bookstore 2016," says Phoenix Books' general manager, Colleen Shipman. " Thank you for voting for us, and thank you for choosing Phoenix Books as your bookstore."
     
    Seven Days readers also voted Phoenix the "Best Bookstore in Chittenden County" for the newspaper's 2013, 2014, and 2015 Daysie Awards, when the category for "Best Bookstore" was awarded for both inside and outside of Vermont's most populous county. This year, the category was awarded for Vermont as a whole, and Phoenix's fellow finalists in the Daysies included Montpelier's Bear Pond Books, Burlington's Crow Bookshop, and Shelburne's Flying Pig Bookstore, as well as Barnes and Noble.
     
    Earlier this summer, Phoenix Books was awarded the "Best of the Best" Reader's Choice Award in the "Local Bookstore" category by the Rutland Herald.  Phoenix's fellow "Best of the Best" nominees were Rutland's The Bookmobile and Manchester's Northshire Bookstore.
     
    This was Phoenix's first year as a contender for the "Best of the Best" awards:  Phoenix Books Rutland opened in September 2015, following a recruitment effort by Green Mountain Power in collaboration with the City of Rutland, Downtown Rutland Partnership, and local residents and businesses. The store is co-owned and managed by Rutland's own Tricia Huebner.

    "We are so excited to have won the Best of the Best award for Best Local Bookstore in Rutland!" says Huebner. "Our customers have really been there for us since we opened last September. Many, many thanks to all of those who voted for us!"
    Posted 08/03/2016
  • Thank you so much to everyone who voted for Phoenix Books in the Rutland Herald's Best of the Best annual poll!  We're honored to have been chosen for the "Best Local Bookstore" award.

    Posted 07/02/2016
  • The owners of Phoenix Books, an independent bookstore with locations in Essex, Burlington and Rutland, have purchased Chester's Misty Valley Books. Michael DeSanto and Renee Reiner met with Lynne and Bill Reed - who bought the Chester landmark in 2001 - for the closing on Monday, May 16th. "Twenty-one years ago," says Reiner, "as Mike and I embarked on this adventure, we considered buying Misty Valley Books from the original owners, Dwight Currie and Michael Kohlmann. So it feels like we've come full circle. We are so delighted to have Misty Valley as part of our Phoenix family!"


    Misty Valley Books.  Photo courtesy chestertelegraph.org.


    "It feels fitting to keep Misty Valley going and growing as part of our goal to preserve local independent bookstores and strengthen the communities hosting the stores," adds DeSanto. "We hope to complete the transition with no interruption in the high level of service Chester and the surrounding communities have seen over the years. Bill and Lynne Reed have lovingly owned and operated this iconic New England independent bookstore, and our intent is to keep intact all the traditions surrounding the store while adding a few new ideas from the experience of owning and operating three other stores in Rutland, Essex and Burlington. The wonderful programming, especially New Voices and Vermont Voices, will continue, with guidance from the Reeds, we hope. The present staff has been invited to stay on, so customers may not even notice the change in ownership. We look forward to serving the community for many years to come."

     
    DeSanto and Reiner were the owners of The Book Rack and Children's pages, first located in Winooski, Vermont, and then Essex, for eight years. They sold the store in 2003, but the appeal of bookselling was too strong to resist. The couple founded Phoenix Books in Essex, Vermont in 2007 and, in 2012, opened a second location in Burlington. Last September, following a recruitment effort by Green Mountain Power in collaboration with the City of Rutland, Downtown Rutland Partnership, and local residents and businesses, DeSanto and Reiner opened Phoenix Books Rutland. The couple discovered that Misty Valley Bookstore was for sale at the New England Independent Booksellers Association Fall Conference in October of 2015, where Bill Reed wore a sign hanging on his back that read "Bookstore for Sale. (We're retiring.) Inquire other side."

    Now in its 29th year, Misty Valley Books occupies a beautiful historic building in a storefront location adjacent to the Fullerton Inn and across from the handsome Chester Green. Approximately 6,000 books are stocked, including current fiction and nonfiction in hardcover and paperback, art, poetry, spirituality, history, biography and Vermontiana, a young reader section and a children's room, plus greeting cards, magazines, calendars and toys. The store hosts numerous author events, including the prestigious Vermont Voices series in the fall and nationally recognized New Voices in January. The store has also provided off-premises bookstores for the Vermont Humanities Council Fall Conference, UVM's Asian Studies Outreach Program and local businesses and restaurants.
     

    From left to right: Lynne and Bill Reed, Renee Reiner, Michael DeSanto. Photo courtesy chestertelegraph.org.

    "We are so pleased that Michael and Renee of Phoenix Books are buying Misty Valley Books!" says Lynne Reed. "Bill and I have had a perfect life here in Chester for the past fifteen years. What could be better than having a bookstore where everyone who comes in loves to read, where you get to have interesting and meaningful conversations every day, and where you know and love your customers. We are happy that they will be continuing Misty Valley’s strong commitment to our community, readers and author events including the well-known Misty Valley New Voices annual weekend for debut authors. They will be a great addition to Chester and the surrounding towns in southern Vermont."

     
    "We will miss the daily involvement with bookselling," adds Bill Reed, "but we are convinced by the Phoenix people we have met, and knowing [Misty Valley staff members] Kim, Amanda, John and Sylvan will continue to be the faces of Misty Valley Books, that Phoenix Books is the perfect succession.  The bookstore we have loved and nurtured will be in very good hands."
     
     
    Posted 05/16/2016
  • Take a literary tour of Vermont’s independent bookstores! 

    Pick up your FREE passport at Phoenix Books or any of the 20 independent bookstores in Vermont and get started today! Or click HERE and download and print your own passport. BOOKSTORES WILL STAMP OR INITIAL BOXES AT LOCATIONS. 

    Visit Vermont bookstores and win great prizes!

    Visit 5 or more stores: Vermont Bookstores pin!
    Visit 10 or more stores: Vermont Bookstores bumper sticker!
    Visit 15 or more stores: YAY! Vermont Bookstores magnet!
    VISIT ALL STORES: Vermont Bookstores reusable shopping bag!

    FINE PRINT: Visit 5 or more participating indie bookstores and get a stamp or initials to qualify for prizes. No purchase necessary. Please see the list of Vermont Independent Bookstores on the passport and listed below. Mail your passport to The Vermont Bookshop, 38 Main Street, Middlebury VT 05753 to be eligible for prizes. 

    Vermont Independent Bookstores

    Posted 04/30/2016
  • It's been a busy weekend in Burlington for random acts of signing! Huge thanks to Vermont author Laura Williams McCaffrey for stopping in to sign her new young adult novel Marked and to Laurie McCammon for coming all the way from Maine to sign copies of Enough!

    Would you like a signed copy?  If ordering online, please indicate in the "comments" field that you'd like an autographed copy.  Quantities are limited, and vary by store.

    Posted 04/18/2016
  • Amy Huntington stopped into our Essex shop this week to sign copies of her beautiful children's books! We now have signed copies of all of her available books in both Burlington and Essex (while supplies last!)

    Would you like a signed copy?  If ordering online, please indicate in the "comments" field that you'd like an autographed copy.  Quantities are limited, and vary by store.

    Posted 04/11/2016
  • Vermont PBS welcomes spring – and April’s National Poetry Month – with a celebration of Vermont poetry in its new series, Poets and Their Craft. The ten-part series, launching both on-air and online, puts a spotlight on some of the state’s leading poets as they give intimate readings and reflect on the creative process.

    The programs were recorded during the 2015 Poets & Their Craft readings and discussions held in independent bookstores across the state - including Phoenix Books Burlington! The readings were organized by poets Mary Jane Dickerson and Tamra Higgins. Each half-hour episode in the series combines highlights from those community readings with interview segments in which the poets discuss their craft and sources of inspiration. Online content will include extended interview segments with each poet.

    “Poets and Their Craft” premieres Thursday, March 24, on all platforms. On air, back-to-back episodes will air Thursdays at 7 and 7:30 p.m. for five consecutive weeks. Online viewing, available to Vermonters anytime, anywhere, is accessible at vermontpbs.org/poets, with the first four episodes launching March 24. The series will also air on Vermont PBS PLUS, Mondays at 9 and 9:30 p.m., beginning March 28.

    Eleven Vermont poets are featured:
    David Huddle reads at The Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury.
    Pamela Harrison reads at Bridgeside Books, Waterbury.
    Diana Whitney reads at Bartleby's Books, Wilmington.
    Jay Parini reads at Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center.
    Sydney Lea reads at Norwich Bookstore, Norwich.
    David Budbill reads at Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick.
    Neil Shepard reads at Ebenezer Books, Johnson.
    Major Jackson reads at Bear Pond Books, Montpelier.
    Baron Wormser reads at Misty Valley Books, Chester.
    Mary Jane Dickerson and Tamra Higgins read at Phoenix Books, Burlington.

    Says Vermont PBS president Holly Groschner, “By combining celebrated Vermont poets reading their work with behind-the-scenes interviews that tell their stories, Poets and Their Craft allows
    us to share with all Vermonters the richness of our creative community in an intimate visual experience. We are inspired by the poets in our midst, and delighted with this partnership of
    Vermont PBS and independently owned bookstores across the state.”

    The series is produced by Vermont PBS staffer Keith Swann. Executive producer is Joe Merone. Production support has been provided by Phoenix Books, Northshire Bookstore, the
    Vermont College of Fine Arts, the Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences and the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English. Vermont PBS is Vermont’s statewide public media provider and visual storyteller, with a commitment to cultural enrichment and civic engagement. More information is available at vermontpbs.org.

    Posted 03/30/2016

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