SCHENECTADY Janet Hutchison has dedicated 30 years of her life to running an independent bookstore that’s a community staple, but she is ready to turn the page to a new chapter of her life.
Hutchison, a Schenectady resident, started working at The Open Door Bookstore in 1982 and worked up to managing it, then taking over ownership in 1992. Moving to the helm of the business wasn’t a difficult choice for her, either.
“I knew it was something that I enjoyed very much,” Hutchison said.
Her husband, John, also helped her run the store. She said it has been a “terrific experience,” but she and her husband are looking forward to slowing down and stepping back.
“It’s a very tough decision, but I’ve decided that now is the right time for me to put family first and enjoy some quality retirement time,” she said. “There are lots of things that give me pleasure here and high on the list is a combination of a wonderful, talented, creative staff and very loyal and appreciative customers.”
The store opened in 1971 as a 500-square-foot shop for children’s books, but has grown to six times its original footprint. The store expanded its literary selection and added a gift gallery featuring items by local artists. When the Hutchisons purchased the business from Betty Flemming, they decided to maintain the spirit of the store.
One of the perks of owning the shop was getting see all the new books flow into the store, she said. Looking at the next season of books was fun, too.
The personal touch the store offers customers is why she said the store has continued to be successful despite tough times for brick-and-mortar booksellers big and small. Staff members commonly offer recommendations for people visiting the store if they were unsure about what book to choose. There are 7,500 people in the store’s rewards program.