There’s not much money in the used book business, so no one would have blamed Ed Gillis if he’d simply given up operation of his used bookstore after some downtown construction necessitated its shutdown.
Instead, he’s many weeks into a new move and just days away from the March 7 reopening of Ed’s Books and More in its new Charlotte Street location.
“I think, someone else might approach it differently and be able to squeeze a few more dollars out of it but I’m more concerned with having everybody happy than making a few dollars,” Gillis said, when asked to describe the popularity of his store and the reasons he keeps it open.
“It’s all the customers and the people that worked there and the fact that we are dealing with people who like literature and books and generally people of that ilk are comfortable to be around.”
Ed’s Books and More
- What: Used book store
- Owner: Ed Gillis
- Location: 331 Charlotte St., Sydney
- Reopening: Saturday, March 7
The store’s former location is among many downtown Sydney parcels of land that will someday soon be the home of the Nova Scotia Community College Marconi Campus.
Gillis said he was given fair warning of the move but not a big window to find a new spot that’s suitable to what his customers and visitors had come to expect from his bookstore.
“My initial searches were not very encouraging. I couldn’t afford the rent so I had a dilemma, and then through the good graces of friends they helped me locate this place here.”
While the previous location spread a massive used book collection across one floor, the new spot has a smaller main floor. However, his landlord, Scott MacVicar, has allowed the store to branch out to the building’s basement and a second floor that’s quickly become known as "Ed’s Upstairs" after he shot down the proposed "Ed’s Attic" name because it felt too pretentious.
“My goal was to make it as welcoming a place as the old location and, hopefully, I’ve accomplished that,” he said, while seated on a stylish sofa he calls a reward for anyone who climbs the stairs to his second floor.
“I tried to incorporate some of the old features into the new store. Certainly, some of the older bookcases and what have you. I tried to bring a touch of the old location here.”
His cats — Mitten and Shadow — are back too.
Community outreach programs, like vinyl classics night, creative writing courses and a short story contest will also return once the store is open and running smoothly again.
He’s hoping all that familiarity will bring a customer base from all around Cape Breton back to the bookstore.
“Fortunately, there’s still people who like to have a book in their hands and hopefully that will always be the case for people who enjoy reading and enjoy collecting. They love the fact that there is a place around, so that they can go to it.”