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Park Street Books to Move to Main Street

The owners of Park Street Books have purchased the former Coldwell Banker building at 504 Main Street. They expect to move by early April.

 

New England's largest children's bookstore will soon be moving to a new space on Main Street.

Jim and Teresa James of Park Street Books & Toys recently signed a purchase and sale agreement for the former Coldwell Banker building at 504 Main Street.

Park Streets Books is expected to move from its 26 Park Street location, a stone's throw away from the new store, by late March or early April.

Jim James said customers -- they receive about 200 a day -- are excited about the move and have already volunteered to line up along Park Street to hand boxes to one another as they make their way down Park Street and around the corner into the Main Street store. 

Though the new location is not much larger, James said, "To have everything in one location will be great." 

In addition to being New England's largest children's bookstore, the store has a large variety of educational toys, a paint-your-own-pottery studio (The Pottery Place), and offers a variety of art, sewing, and knitting classes.

The new space will also offer ample space to highlight local authors like David Biedrzycki and Mary Sullivan, and will also offer a candy section, according to the store's Facebook page.

The Main Street location will also increase visibility to nearly 40,000 vehicle trips a day, much higher than that seen on its current side street.

With the expected increased traffic, James expects to increase store hours. The store currently closes at 6 p.m. but he hopes to increase closing time until 8 p.m. or 9 p.m.

Though the distance from one store to the other is not long, the road to close the deal was a long one. 

Six months ago, James made a "very good offer" to purchase the Coldwell Banker building (which had been vacant for some time) but it was rejected. He considered moving out of town which did not make customers happy. As a temporary fix, he signed a lease for additional space connected to the current store to accomodate the growing business.

In June, James told Patch, "We’re trying our best to just make this something amazing. We want to keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger. There’s a drive to make it an amazing place and I think we’ll get there…I see great things coming.” 

What he didn't see coming was a call from the owner of the Coldwell Banker building months later to restart talks about a possible sale.

That started a series of meetings with town officials including the Sign Committee, the Planning Board, and the building inspector.

It was determined that the change in use of the building -- from commercial to retail -- was not a significant change which was great news for James because he could keep the sign in front of the building.  

Editor's note: Medfield has a sign bylaw that does not allow interchangeable signage. The Coldwell Banker sign was grandfathered in because it was in existence before the bylaw was enacted. A significant change of use in the building would mean the interchangeable portion of the sign could no longer be used. 

"I'm always happy to encourage business growth and I think that the new location would be a benefit for the community and give you a lot more visibility," said Planning Board Chairman Elissa Franco at a Dec. 10 meeting where the board unanimously agreed there was no significant change in use. 

James said plans for the new building include an expanded toy section on the first floor and increased book offerings on the second floor. The store currently has more than one million books but keeps the majority of them off-site. The upstairs rooms will feature different genres.

"It's going to be a really comfortable space and a beautiful space," he said, comparing the new bright space to the store's current darker space with low ceilings. 

One of the side rooms will be used for The Pottery Place, another room will serve as an instructional classroom.

"I think we're a really good toy and book store but I think we're going to be amazing, that's our goal," James said. "I think it's going to be a lot of fun."

 

Pop quiz: Do you know who designed Booker T. Frog, Park Street Books' mascot?Hint: The artist is mentioned in this story. 

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