By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,733)
Maine’s oldest and largest independent book store is preparing to open its fifth full service book store in Portland’s Old Port on April 1st, said its manager Josh Christie, this afternoon at the store’s location at 49 Exchange Street; the former site of Edgecomb Pottery.
“Portland is a very literary city. There are colleges such as the University of Southern Maine, Maine College of Art, and Southern Maine Community College that contribute to this. There are also special events such as the yearly Book Festival,” said Christie as a logical reason to expand here. “Book sales haven’t decreased at any of our four other stores, even though the media tells the public that is happening generally.” Sherman’s dates back to 1866 when the first store was established in Bar Harbor. The current owner, Jeff Curtis, is the second family to own the company.
The store will carry a large inventory of books which is typical of their other four stores that hug the Maine coastline from Portland up to Bar Harbor and towns in between. Included in the stock will be non-fiction, fiction, childrens’ book along with Maine authors and their books. About 2/3 of the stock will be books and a lesser amount devoted to gifts, cards and seasonal items. No used books will be sold here, although negotiations are under way by Jeff Curtis, co-owner with his daughter Tori to have a company purchase used books from customers.
In addition to the large inventory, another asset to the latest Sherman’s book store is the manager himself – Josh Christie – a reader and pulished writer on his own. Last year he wrote the book “Maine Beer.” Christie and his father, John, alternate weeks writing an outdoor column for the MAINE SUNDAY TELEGRAM. It’s called “Worth the Trip.” A collection of these columns will be published by “Down East Books” later this year and available at Sherman’s and elsewhere. A bonus for customers, Christie is a voracious reader. Usually he reads three book simultaneously – one fiction, one non-fiction and one graphic. “That way I can keep them straight and not get them mixed up,” the outgoing Christie said grinning. He reads them and he can recommend them. Currently Christie is reading “Operation Paperclip,” a non-fiction book by Annie Jacobsen. (It’s “The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America” according to the book cover and costs $ 30.00.) He recommends it. It can be purchased at Sherman’s when it opens on April 1st.
“We are excited to be in Portland and be part of this very literate city,” said Christie.
The new Sherman’s will be open seven days a week with hours roughly 9:00 am until about 6:00 pm.