A stalwart of the bookselling community in Liverpool is to retire after 46 years, and is on the look out for a "savvy" successor to take his store on.
Steve Pritchard (pictured below left) has helmed Pritchards Bookshop in Crosby since 1975, setting up shop when he was 23, after reading nuclear physics at university. He had previously opened another shop with his family, before setting out on his own.
"I started knowing absolutely nothing," he said. "Myself, my brother and my mother started a shop in Ormskirk and then I opened here in 1975, so I've been here since. I didn't know anything about books and bookselling, but grew to love it. I've always loved reading, and I've really enjoyed the whole ambiance of the book trade."
He intended to retire last year, but decided against it because of the pandemic. "It's coming up to my 70th birthday and it feels like the right time to go," he said.
Since news of Pritchard's retirement and quest to find a bookseller to take on his role emerged on social media, the shop has seen "a lot of positive interest", he added.
Commenting on the ideal candidate, Pritchard said: "I'll know them when I see them. I want someone to take it on, take it forwards, pick up the baton and take it to new heights. It certainly won't be a corporation or one of the big boys. I'm looking for somebody to run it as we have, on good service and being a lovely place to come. We need someone who is a little bit more savvy on social media than we are — who can handle Twitter and Instagram."
The shop stocks local titles in addition to new books and children's titles, and prides itself on bespoke recommendations for its regulars. It won a Nibbie in 1990 for Independent Bookseller of the Year.
"We've got to know our customers really well. We got a plug for doing that a couple of years ago by Frank Cottrell-Boyce. We'd made a robot head for the shop, and he borrowed it and took it to the Hay Festival and he was being interviewed and he started telling the [journalist] all about us. 'Let me tell you about my local bookshop Pritchards,' he said, 'it's the sort of shop where they know what you want before you even get inside.'"
On his next adventure, Pritchard will be taking over as chairman of the Southport Dramatic Club in a year's time, after being a member for 25 years, in addition to travelling in his motor home and taking on an allotment.
"You could say I will have more things going on," he said. "I'm certainly not going to be smoking a pipe and sitting in slippers."
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