A former travel industry executive has opened a bookshop, Truman Books, in an old haberdashery in Yorkshire.
Owner Amanda Truman started Truman Books in June after lockdown inspired her to achieve a long-held ambition. She left London for Leeds, using redundancy money from her travel role to fund her new independent bookshop.
She told The Bookseller: “It’s always been a dream of mine to open a bookshop. I spent 20 years working in the travel industry, most recently setting up a business in Asia, but when the pandemic hit I went from getting on a plane every couple of weeks to not being able to leave the country at all. It seemed like time for something new.”
Lockdown offered a new perspective for her. She said: “I think 2020 gave me the space to look at my life and think about how I wanted it to look. So I cashed in my redundancy cheque, sold my house in London, and moved back up to Yorkshire to open the shop.”
She has been helped by an experienced bookseller from a nearby Blackwell's which closed down. She explained: “My deputy manager is Steve Clough who used to manage the Blackwell's in Bradford. A year ago he was closing that shop down, now he’s helping me open a brand new shop.” The branch was closed last summer to protect the "future health" of the Blackwell's chain amid the pressures of lockdown.
Truman believes the site of her new shop is well placed for a creative, local business. “We are based in Farsley — an old mill town between Leeds and Bradford," she said. "It has a vibrant high street with lots of independent businesses, the mill has studios for artists and creatives, and the local community is very supportive of local businesses. The shop was a haberdashers for about 50 years, closing around 18 months ago when the owner retired.”
The 80 sq m space also includes a small café space to help lure shoppers in offering coffee and cake. It will hold around 3,000 books for adults and children with a focus on diverse voices, also stocking indie presses with a view to providing subscription boxes in the future. Truman hopes to provide “a welcoming community space” with future events including book clubs, author signings and story time sessions.
Truman has been delighted by the response to the store's opening earlier this month. “The reaction has been amazing,” she said. "We had people queuing outside on opening day, and the local community has welcomed us with open arms."
She has also felt welcomed by the trade itself. “The Booksellers Association, Gardners and the bookseller community have all been so helpful and supportive to me when I was working towards opening the shop. It feels like such a lovely industry to be a part of.”
More information can be found here.