Linghams Bookshop in Heswall (Merseyside) has been bought by new owners Sue Porter and Mike King.
The 2013 Bookseller Industry Awards’ Independent Bookshop of the Year was put up for sale last September by its owners Eleanor and Peter Davies, who had decided the time was right to retire.
The new owners have not disclosed the sum paid for the shop but promised to continue the strong tradition of holding author events in the venue under their tenure. Porter said: “Linghams is a special place. When we realised it was available, we jumped at the chance to own it. Helping run such an important shop—and in my own home town too—is a dream come true.”
The pair intend to hold several “launch days”, at the shop and children’s author Cathy Cassidy will host a Children’s Day in the shop on 7th November, where she will be signing copies of her latest book, Chocolate Box Girls: Fortune Cookie (Puffin).
The business will also remain involved in the Heswall Arts Festival, which helps to promote the local area. “We are aware of the legacy built by Eleanor and Peter,” Porter said. “We want Linghams to become a central hub for all creative and cultural matters. Mike and I are avid readers and love a wide range of music. We hope we can bring a fresh approach and new ideas to make things even better and more exciting for all of our customers.”
King, who is originally from Cambridge but lived on the Isle of Wight for 30 years, added: “In Cambridge, I could always be found in either Heffers book store or Andy’s Records. I always thought I could combine the two with a café and I’d have a winner. I seemed to get distracted for the last 30 years with things like work, but it’s better late than never. We’re really excited about the future.”
The bookshop has been operating for 30 years. Eleanor and Peter Davies bought it in 2010 from its previous owner The Retail Group. The move was a management buyout: Eleanor had run the shop for 10 years by the time The Retail Group decided to sell, and couldn’t bear to see it closed.
(From left) New owners Mike King and Sue Porter receive the keys to Lingshams Bookshop from Eleanor and Peter Davies.
Davies said of the latest sale: “We were adamant that the shop would remain a bookshop after investing a lot of time and money in ensuring it did so. We are pleased to have found buyers who not only want to continue, but want to build on our hard work.”
She added: “When we took on the shop five years ago it was practically bankrupt. We gave ourselves five years to get the show back on the road. Every year it has done better than the year before and we built it into a going concern. We have done what we wanted to do and the bookshop will remain in the community.”
Eleanor now plans to write a book about her experiences of working in a bookshop and is now looking for a literary agent. “I have kept a notebook of everything that has happened over the years to draw on,” she said. “I haven’t decided whether it is going to be fact or fiction yet because I think fact is perhaps more unbelievable than the fiction!”