DOVER — The only bookstore in Kent County is closing its doors.
Acorn Books, at the Gateway West Shopping Center in Dover, is set to close June 13, owner Ginny Jewell announced this week.
"Together, we have gotten over 100,000 books into our community and after 3 amazing years, we are both sad and excited to begin a new chapter of our company," read the post on the bookstore’s Facebook page Monday.
In the meantime, Ms. Jewell said she is actively looking for a new location.
She said her "greatest hope" is to secure a new location before the store closes — and turn the store’s closing sale into a moving sale.
"We have a few leads, and wish we could have made a deal before announcing our closing, but we felt it was important to let people know in time to use their credits," she said.
Ms. Jewell, who worked at Atlantic Book Store before it closed in 2011, opened Acorn Books in September 2012.
In her reasons for closing the store, she cited high rent and her own inexperience.
"I had run a store before, but never a company," Ms. Jewell said.
"This is my first time in business, and finding out the true cost of doing business has been eye-opening."
Since the only bookstore she ever knew was Atlantic, she said, she modeled her business after that.
"The reality is that Atlantic had tons of employees, a great location on the highway, they purchased in bulk and got great discounts, and they had been here for years and years," she said.
In comparison, Acorn Books is a newcomer. It’s tucked away in Gateway West and employs four people, including Ms. Jewell. They order books in ones and twos.
"These differences mean that we have to do a whole lot more, with a whole lot less," she said.
"We’ve gotten pretty good at that over the past few years."
Now, moving forward, she said she knows what mistakes she’s made. And while the store still is recovering from early setbacks, she can foresee a time when those problems are under control.
"I think exposure and lower overhead will play a major role in our future success," she said.
Along with selling books, the store has hosted poetry slams, writers workshops, author signings and book clubs.
"(It’s) become obvious to me that people need each other," Ms. Jewell said.
"They need a place to meet and socialize, and talk and to affect one another. This builds a stronger, healthy community while keeping the arts alive in Dover and the surrounding (area)."
Starting Tuesday, everything in the store was 20 percent off. The price cuts will increase as Acorn Books approaches its closing and the stock goes down.
Ms. Jewell said people are sad about the news — "and that makes us sad."
"Customer reactions are the best and worst part of this process," she said.
"Some are encouraged when we remind them we are hoping to open in a new location, others tear up when we talk about leaving this store."
She said she’s hoping the sale will help set up another store, and she’s counting on customers to follow Acorn Books to a new place.
"Personally, I am excited to see where God wants us next," Ms. Jewell said.
Acorn Books is no longer selling gift cards, Ms. Jewell said, and books will no longer be accepted for buyback credit.
Acorn Books will not be taking special orders after today.
Customers who have credit on file will be able to use their credit on used books until the store is closed.
Gift certificates will be accepted in the store until the store is closed.
"We thank our many loyal customers who have made a point of shopping locally, and we are sorry we are not able to sustain this location. It is our greatest hope that we will be able to re-open in another location at some point," the announcement read. "We give deep thanks to our long serving staff, our vendors, and again, most of all, to our customers."