This has got to be one of the most interesting indie histories I've read so far! The Odyssey Bookshop is reported to have been established in 1963 by a French-Canadian, Romeo Grenier, an immigrant who was a passionate reader. In 1935 he had became a pharmacist, and in 1957 he bought Glesman's Pharmacy, across the street from Mount Holyoke College. Soon, his drugstore became a literary gathering place. The soda fountain booths, and round tables were filled with students, faculty and townspeople discussing books and current events. Romeo decided to move the toothpaste and aspirin aside to create a book department in front of the drugstore. He began his new venture with 500 Penguin titles.
In 1991, the store passed to Romeo's daughter, Joan Grenier, who now runs the store with co-owner Neil Novik, who joined the business in 1998, bringing his expertise in management and technology-- and the crime fiction genre.
In the years since, the Odyssey has lived up to their goal of bringing readers and writers together, with a literary event schedule including more than 150 events a year for adults and children, attended by more than 2,500 people annually. (!!Wow!!!)
The Odyssey Bookshop
9 College Street
S. Hadley, MA 01075
If you have a sec, do send Joan & Ken an email and wish them a Happy 45th Odyssey Anniversary!
Mary & Robin