If you read any industry trade newsletters yesterday, you’ve heard all about the devastation in Vermont. As a Vermonter, I can tell you it’s one thing to read about it, it’s another to see it.
While the Flying Pig suffered no damage at all, our friends down in southern Vermont got absolutely pounded. My local news has done little but show the near total ruin of several towns, all of which have bookstores in them. These people are my colleagues and after seeing the photos I cannot imagine what they’re going through.
Downtown Brandon, home of Briggs Carriage Bookstore, is awash. Main Street has become a rushing river. The water was so bad, a pizza restaurant was moved 20 feet off its foundation. The building actually moved! I cannot believe the power of the water. Calls to the store were not answered (they’re closed on Mondays) so I don’t know how they’ve fared. Access to the town has been rerouted because part of the main road has washed away, so I can’t imagine there’s much business to be had even if they’ve escaped the flooding.
Lisa Sullivan, the owner of The Book Cellar in Brattleboro, which was destroyed in a fire this past April, suffered another huge loss as her second store, Bartleby’s Books in Wilmington, which was located literally in the eye of the flooding, has been all but totally destroyed. According to her Facebook page, if the National Guard lets her staff in, she’s going to try to salvage the books on the top shelves. This is beyond my comprehension. To lose two stores to catastrophes in less than five months would be more than I could bear. I looked around my store today and thought how I would feel if it were all ruined. The shock, the anger and the sheer enormity of rebuilding would have me paralyzed.
Lisa vows to rebuild as soon as possible. I admire her spirit and wish her only clear skies and nothing but the best fourth quarter a bookstore ever had.