FALMOUTH — Although the new owner of the Book Review in the Falmouth Shopping Center is concentrating on expanding the store’s digital presence, she said her life these days is still all about “books, books and more books.”
Clare Lygo bought the bookstore this spring from longtime owners Donna Williams and Stephen Fournier, a brother-and-sister duo who owned the shop since 1980.
“For me it is a privilege to continue this little bookstore and continue (its) legacy,” Lygo, who lives in Cumberland, said this week.
She has created a website, revamped the storefront, upgraded the computer system and done some internal renovations.
But the character of the business remains the same, partly because Lygo has hired everyone who worked for the prior owners.
“Taking over a business that has been successful and survived for 37 years, I have to believe that the previous owners were doing things right,” she said. “And that included having a loyal and knowledgeable staff.”
Lygo said her motivation for buying the bookstore was somewhat selfish: she was a frequent customer, who “couldn’t let another small business fade into oblivion.”
“I would like to continue providing a vital service to our customers,” she said. “My children practically grew up in this store. It was our go-to place for books, and for me there was no greater joy than reading to my kids and teaching them a love of reading.”
The store is open seven days a week and Lygo has been spending long days in the back office learning the ropes. However, she said she also “loves working up front, interacting with and meeting the customers, and hope to do more of that as I get the overall running of the business under control.”
Lygo, who grew up in Australia and Hong Kong, has had a varied career, including operating a fashion manufacturing business and working for the past three years at Rainbow Toys, another local business.
In fact, it was through the owners of the toy shop that she heard the bookstore was for sale and “the timing of this opportunity just felt right. I was excited and up for the challenge,” she said, especially because her children are now in college.
Lygo said bookstores still have relevance in the digital age, particularly small, local ones like the Book Review.
“I cannot tell you how many people come into the store and say they want a good book to read,” she said. “They honestly miss just holding a book, placing a bookmark in it, setting it down and (then) picking it up at any time.”
Lygo said her goals for the store include increasing its visibility.
“There are so many people now that are coming in and saying they didn’t know there was a bookstore here,” she said. “I’ve added my own personal style to the exterior of the store with a fresh color, new logo and sign (which are) tied into the website, Instagram and Facebook.”
While the Book Review is a brick-and-mortar store, Lygo said, “social media is a powerful tool in this modern era and the store needed to be brought into the 21st century in order to continue to thrive.”
Her hope for the shop includes giving “the inside a little facelift next year when I’ve had a good solid year under my belt. I (also) have a few other exciting plans for the store in the future.”
Along with books, Lygo has increased her stock of greeting cards and is “steadily increasing the gifts section,” she said.
But, she added, “First and foremost we are a bookstore, and I want our customers to be able to browse in an enjoyable, no-pressure environment, where they can sit and take their time choosing that next perfect read.”
She said reaction to her ownership of the bookstore has been “very positive (and) people have commented on the new store colors and rearrangement of things inside.”
Lygo’s favorite authors include Jane Austen, and Austen’s “’Sense and Sensibility’ is her “all-time favorite book.”
Lygo said her older sister introduced her to a love of reading.
“We shared a bedroom growing up and she would read into the wee hours of the night,” she said.
And that’s a joy Lygo wants future generations to enjoy, too.
“The most important thing to me,” she said, “is that the next generation has a love of reading. There’s no greater joy.”
Clare Lygo, left, the new owner of the Book Review in the Falmouth Shopping Center, with Letty Berkovich, one of the shop’s longtime employees.
Under new ownership, the storefront at the Book Review in Falmouth has had a renovation and update.