AMESBURY — The Middle Street Bookstore will be closing its doors Thursday after 21 years in downtown Newburyport to move to a new location in Amesbury.
Liz Schneider, the store’s proprietor, said the move became necessary after her landlord ordered the bookstore out by May 1, and the new store will open in mid-April at 15 Friend St., giving Amesbury two downtown bookstores.
The store will accordingly be renamed The Friend Street Bookstore when it opens, but the store’s model of selling once-read books at lower prices will remain the same.
Schneider said her preference would have been to remain in Newburyport, but there was no available space at an affordable price.
“Our customers have been so great, and they wanted us to stay in Newburyport,” Schneider said. “But we checked places in Newbury and Rowley before settling on Amesbury.”
The Middle Street Bookstore had been a fixture in downtown Newburyport since John Kymalainen of Danvers first opened the store in 1992. Eventually he sold the business to two Colorado men, one of whom was originally from Newburyport, and in 2003 they sold the store to Schneider, who had been running the day-to-day operations.
The new location in Amesbury is bigger than the current space and has much more parking available nearby to customers. There will also be a handicap accessible entrance in the back, something the Middle Street store didn’t have.
Before the new shop opens, the bookstore needs to install new bookshelves, transport the thousands of books currently on the shelves, and then have its business license approved by the Amesbury City Council. The store has already received its occupancy permit from building inspector Denis Nadeau, and the next City Council meeting is scheduled for April 9.
In the last days before the move, Schneider said she wants to thank all of her customers for supporting the store and added that she hopes they will continue to do so in the future.