There have been lots of changes seen in world the last month or so and here at River Bookshop we are no different. The renovations to the building were moving along nicely but along with other non-residential construction it was brought to a halt by government Covid-19 regulations. Not to worry though, we will be ordering all that needs to be ordered and getting all things possible done so we are ready to hit the ground running as soon as we're given the go ahead. This will mean that our opening is delayed slightly but still projected for late summer 2020.
We are still picking books, planning events and working on partnerships to bring Amherstburg an entertaining, engaging, inspiring and educational place to visit. And we are so looking forward to welcoming you through our doors.
And now without further ado, here's River Bookshop owner/bookseller, Richard Peddie, with the story on how he got here!
Connecting The Dots
I have been a bibliophile long before I ever knew the term. When my brother Tom and were very young our Dad read us Thorton Burgess’s books like Blacky The Crow” and “Reddy Fox” causing us to be early naturalists. While in high school it was books like “To Kill a Mockingbird” (by the way the show on Broadway is excellent) and “Catch 22”. In university I still found time to escape in books like “Portnoy’s Complaint” and “Andromeda Strain” (a little more timely now given the Covid19). And due to my University of Windsor business studies I also started reading authors like the father of business management Peter Drucker.
Throughout my business career I never really had a formal mentor. Yes, I had some good and bad bosses - learning some leadership things I should probably adopt and others I should definitely stay well away from. But I never had a true mentor. My mentors became books by Peters & Waterman, Tichy, Collins, Maxwell, Davis and many more.
So when I wrote my second book “21 Leadership Lessons” I made sure to include a lesson entitled “21 of My Favourite Leadership Books” I started that lesson with a quote from best-selling mystery, horror and science fiction writer Dean Koontz: “each book is a mind alive, a life revealed, a word awaiting exploration” Why did I quote him? Because I believe if one keeps an open mind there are leadership and life lessons from much of what one reads.
I also learned along the way that in life you often connect the dots and those dots can take you in directions you never imagined. Or at least you think you never imagined.
“When we look back, we think our lives form patterns; every event starts to look logical, as if something - or someone - has mapped out all our steps (and mis-steps). Once upon a time I would have said we choose our paths at random: this happens, then that, hence the other. Now I know better”
Stephen King “Revival”
So why am I telling you this? Because the bibliophile dots I experienced when I was six are now causing me to open the River Bookshop decades later.
Amherstburg is a small Ontario town that has been hurt by the big box stores and the decline of manufacturing, like many small towns (Hint: my next book?). It is lovely town with lots of potential, but as my friend and independent bookseller Ben McNally once said: “what do you want in the centre of the city? Do you want it all to be restaurants, coffee shops and fast food places or do you actually want to have some kind of, you know, cultural retail outlet one way or the other?” Note: there is not a bookstore within 32 kilometres of Amherstburg. But there will be one coming this summer when the threat of the virus is over.
Colleen and I have created Black Dog Entertainment which is working on a number of investments to inspire the Amherstburg community. Our River Bookshop will be our first one. We are restoring an 1885 building on the outside to how it looked when it was built 135 years ago. We are describing our interior design as “Victorian new and now” - you will have to visit it to see what we mean by that. Working with Lead Bookseller Lori Wightman our bookshop concept is to create what sociologist Ray Odenberg describes is a “third place” in Amherstburg. An important new informal gathering place for the town. A community hub that people will wish to gather in to search out interesting titles and meet other residents. But also, to hear from visiting authors and speakers on topics ranging from climate change to diversity and inclusion .. or just sharing an entertaining story.
Our River Bookshop is a fun journey where I am calling on the many skills, and many contacts I made during my forty-year business career. Look for another posting as we get closer to the opening. I guarantee that it will be a page turner.
In the meantime, read more books!