A focus on kids, a remodeled interior, a little wine, and a closer partnership with the Reading Room are some of what’s in store for the changes coming to Upshur Street Books next month. The bookstore is now closed, with plans to reopen in early February.
New bookstore owner Hannah Oliver Depp said after working as the managing partner of Upshur Street Books for the last several months, as well as a long background in literati and bookstores, she has a feel for what can help keep Upshur Street’s bookstore relevant and engaging.
“Paul and I have known each other for awhile. I’ve been a fan of his restaurants, and we partnered together on the Loyalty Bookstore pop-up in Silver Spring this past holiday season,” Depp said. “From that success, I have a strong vision for what a bookstore on Upshur can be. We want people to interact with books differently than they have in the past.”
Look for new events coming to the bookstore, with a strong connection with the Petworth Citizen Reading Room, which has gained well-deserved notoriety for its Literary Cocktail nights hosted by craft bartender Chantal Tseng. (That connection will be both figurative and literal, as the two spaces connect via a hallway in the rear of the bookstore.) Depp said she loves Upshur Street Books. “I’m very committed to keeping a bookstore on Upshur Street.”
She said she wants to offer a more hands-on approach to the interior’s layout, moving away from the wall shelves toward more display tables designed to offer a “please touch” vibe. There will be chairs for customers to spend time reading, and offering book groups a comfortable place to gather and enjoy some wine from the Reading Room while they talk. Also look for a new membership benefits program from the bookstore a few months after they open.
Kids books will be front and center in the remodeled bookstore, Depp said. They are also planning on offering coffee drinks, but want to do so in a way that supports the other Upshur businesses. “We’re working on a coffee service, but unsure yet on the concept. We want to ensure we don’t have a negative impact on Lulabelle’s Sweet Shop,” Depp said.
Upshur Street Books is closed as of Monday, January 21st, and the plan is to reopen the first weekend in February. The store needed to close to replace some pipes and flooring in any case, so Depp is taking the opportunity to use the time to remodel the interior.
According to an email the store sent out on Monday, if you have an order that was already waiting at the store, or if you’ve ordered a book that hasn’t arrived yet, it can be picked up at Petworth Citizen or, until the 27th, at the Loyalty Bookstore pop-up in Silver Spring (931 Ellsworth Drive). You can email the store to provide your pickup preference.
Depp said they are looking for a new location in Silver Spring to move the pop-up into a permanent home, meaning there will be two locations for Loyalty Books in the near future (Petworth and Silver Spring).
Upshur Street Books gift cards and customer cards will be honored when the bookstore reopens.