The Henniker Book Farm was established in 1964, by Walter Robinson, a professor who taught at New England College. We have heard many stories of Walter and the treasures that could be found in the much smaller original shop along with many stories about his aptitude for sharing sherry with his friends. Over the years, Walter became friends with another professor from New England College, Gary McGrath. They worked together at the shop and in 2005 Gary and his wife Melinda were giving the opportunity to purchase the Henniker Book Farm from Walter.
Over the next fifteen years, Gary and Melinda worked hard to improve and grow the Henniker Book Farm. They redesigned the interior and expanded the collections within. Gary had an amazing knack for utilizing every available space within the shop by creating shelving that not only flowed, but was also very functional. Gary and Melinda painstakingly organized and categorized all the books so that they were easy to find. And eventually, the need for getting the shop on-line, became apparent and their son helped them get this up and running. Unfortunately, in early 2020 Gary became seriously ill with cancer, during this time COVID was running rampant and the shop was closed in March of 2020, and Gary passed away shortly after, in April. Melinda moved to be closer to her daughter and since that point the shop remained closed.
In 2021, my husband and I (Josh and Lacey Brown) reached out to Melinda and her family to see if there was any interest in selling the bookshop. I sent the email off and nervously waited for a response. Just as I was beginning to think that maybe there was no interest in selling the business, a response finally arrived while we were out for lunch one day. Over the coming days we talked and virtually met Melinda and her family and things began to fall into place. One of things that was very important to us was that we wanted to keep the history of the bookshop alive.
In January of 2022, we were able to close on the purchase of the Henniker Book Farm. It had been a long time coming, but we were excited to start the adventure of becoming bookstore owners. Over the coming months we worked tirelessly to clean every single book in the shop in order to open our doors (thanks to many of our family and friends for their help). At first we were planning to get all of the inventory accounted for and on-line and then open the shop to the public, but as we worked it was clear that the community was excited about having the shop open again. Even if I stopped by to quickly grab something at the store, someone would stop and ask when we were opening.
Unlike the previous two owner’s, I am not a professor at New England College, BUT I have ALWAYS wanted to own my own bookshop. My mom will even tell you that when I was a kid I would setup a library at home and make my brothers and sister check out books from my library. I was a voracious reader from a young age and I absolutely love reading as it can take you to so many different places.
At the end of August 2022, we were ready to re-open! We were excited to finally share this wonderful place with everyone. We did not change much, as the shop was amazing as is and there is a truly a little bit of something for everyone, so the tradition of the Henniker Book Farm lives on! That said the one addition, we did make was to add in some homemade gifts to our offering. We are creatively adding these gifts throughout the store. We are excited to continue to meet new and old book friends from near and far.
Lacey, Josh, Reagan, Harleigh, and Savannah Brown. And I cannot forget our bookstore dog, Bandit.