A Likely Story, Beloved by Families, Faces Fiscal Reality
In 2006, A Likely Story, the beloved Old Town children's bookstore, won the industry's prestigious Pannell Award and was voted the most outstanding children's bookstore in the nation. For two decades, the bookstore, and especially its children's story time, were fixtures in the lives of many families.
The shop hosted midnight Harry Potter parties, which thousands attended. Its owners were prime forces behind such community events as this year's Tricks and Treats on Halloween. They donated to school fundraisers, hosted birthday parties, organized writers' workshops for children and held summer camps.
Many families attended the shop's story time. Few bought books afterward, Paul says.
"Story time here was great," Clements said. "It was really fast paced and high energy. They'd read a story, then stop and sing a song. It was very easy to hold [the children's] attention, which is not usually an easy thing to do. I think a lot of people will miss this place."
A few minutes later, three nannies strolled up with their charges. "This is such a shock," Ilia Asto said.
For days, other independent business owners along King Street buzzed with the news. No one could believe it. "They had a sign up that they were remodeling just one month ago, and now they're closed?" said Lynn Mills of Tisara Photography.
The owners of A Likely Story had been instrumental in revitalizing upper King Street, she said, encouraging specialty retail stores and entrepreneurs to locate in the area that had traditionally been known for residential and office space. "It's possible that the revitalization had an adverse effect on this small business, because rents keep going up."
News of the store's closing first came in an e-mail to customers, sent at 3:22 on the morning it was to close. No explanation was given. "Oh no! It can't be true!" read one post on a neighborhood blog.