BRACEBRIDGE - The last new bookstore in Bracebridge will be closing its doors for the last time in December.
THE LAST BOOKSTORE.
Jim Dwyer hands a bag of books to Kasia Seydegart during his store closing sale on Aug. 15. Scott’s of Muskoka announced at Midnight Madness that it will be closing in December.
Photo by Jennifer Bowman
Scott’s of Muskoka owner Jim Dwyer hung the closing sale signs in the window during his favourite book-selling event of the year, Midnight Madness.
He loves being busy, and the event is the busiest time of the year — he said he can barely see from one end of the store to the other. Those times have become rare.
Dwyer said the business has been going downhill for 10 years.
“The store is an institution, like Eaton’s. Everybody knows about it, but nobody shops there,” he said, though he added business isn’t quite that bad yet.
When one of Scott’s major suppliers announced in January they were closing their doors, Dwyer bought as many books as he could afford and get his hands on, but he had to make a decision.
They decided to start closing the store now, while the summer residents are still here to buy the merchandise, but are hoping to stay open until Christmas.
“I’ve met more people in the past month than I have in the last three years,” he said.
That’s because of the sales in the store ranging from 20 per cent to 80 per cent off of books that are already less expensive than most, and artist’s works in the art gallery.
The store specializes in Muskoka picture books, local authors and books that can’t be found on the Internet. About one-quarter of Scott’s sales are from books by local authors; half came from the supplier that closed.
Cathryn Rodney, CEO of the Bracebridge library, said they are saddened by the closure.
“There are a number of times when we’ve needed a book quickly … and we’ve been able to nip down there and get it,” she said. They particularly appreciate the vast expanse of local history books there.
Now they’ll have to go to Gravenhurst, or clients will just have to wait until it arrives from farther away.
Dwyer has owned Scott’s for 17 of its 30 years in Bracebridge. Some of the highlights have been meeting with people like former prime minister Joe Clark, and selling his father’s Murder in Muskoka series, which Liam Dwyer began writing when his children gave him a computer for his 75th birthday.
Dwyer doesn’t know what his future holds — they may sell the old downtown building that holds both their store and their home, or their daughter may try her hand at another kind of retail store.
“I can’t afford to retire,” said Dwyer. “I have to do something, but I don’t know what.”
He’s toying with the idea of community theatre, currently sporting some stubble he’s growing into a beard for a play he’s doing in September.
There is one thing Dwyer is particularly looking forward to when the store is closed next year.
“Then I can actually see what’s going on in the street on Midnight Madness! I’ve never been able to anything except from the door. All I get is somebody will come in with one of those little doughnuts, and that’s about all I see of Midnight Madness.”