SCHENECTADY — The Open Door Bookstore is a treasure in Schenectady. Walk past its quaint window display on Jay Street, just around the corner from Proctors, and into its doors. Inside unfolds rows upon rows of bookcases stacked to the brim with books for children and adults, alike.
What began as a children’s bookstore store in 1971 quickly expanded to include the adult books and gifts that the public yearned for. An independent bookstore to its core, The Open Door Bookstore first opened almost 45 years ago when original owner Betty Fleming saw the need for a local children’s bookstore.
Though children’s books still remain close to the heart of The Open Door Bookstore, the store now features a selection of books for all ages. In addition, you can find wonder gift items for the home. There’s also personal accessory items like jewelry, scarves and hand bags. Not to mention, toys, greeting cards and more.
Like every independent bookstore, The Open Door Bookstore is competing against big online retailers. But, it is the knowledgeable staff of people working at the store who love books, and love to recommend their books and gifts to customers, that gives people something that big retailers can’t: a comfortingly personal experience.
Owner Janet Hutchison says it is the bookstore’s mission to “provide the best selection in books and in gift merchandise in the Capital Region.” After working as a librarian at the Schenectady County Library, then working at The Open Door Bookstore herself for almost ten years, Hutchison and her husband bought the store from Fleming in 1992. The couple has continued the store’s tradition of serving the needs of its customers.
The Open Door Bookstore regularly offers events that bring neighbors into its open doors. Twice a year, the bookstore sponsors contests specifically for children. There’s a writing contest in the spring, and an art contest in the fall. Every summer, there are free programs involving stories, arts and crafts. And, throughout the year, the bookstore features book signings with area authors.
For more information on The Open Door Bookstore, and details on the various programs it offers, visit www.opendoor-bookstore.com, call 346-2719, or visit 128 Jay Street in Schenectady.
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