Thomas G. Roberts and Joseph John Justin had an immediate hit on their hands with Ye Olde Warwick Book Shoppe when they opened in 2012. It is Orange County's only independent bookstore; beyond that, with its Victorian style, welcoming vibe, community spirit, and mix of new, used, and rare volumes as well as collectibles, it seems to be just the bookstore Orange County had been waiting for. By last summer, they were creating a second outpost in Greenwood Lake managed by Maria Stasolla.
Is this your dream job?
Maria Stasolla: Absolutely! I was working at a clothing store and designing couture millinery—I've done a lot of things, mostly art and design—and as soon as the bookstore opened I was a regular. Someone told me they were looking for part-time help.... It was mutual love. When Tom offered me the manager's job at the new location, I cried.
What's different at the new location?
MS: Warwick is more nook-y and darker, with books heaped floor to ceiling. Here there's an open loft, seating, a dedicated children's room. It's perfect for events. Story hour this Sunday is [about] planting, and Stacy Lawrence from the Garden Center is bringing in seeds. The plants will ultimately be in our backyard garden; kids can come back and watch their plants grow. Tuesdays we do vision books, art with kids over 10. We have adult coloring night every Wednesday; last week we played `70s disco and drank wine; that started when a customer was looking for a coloring book. It's all crazy women; crazy men would be welcome. Fridays are open house nights, for just about anything revolving around literature, art, music, and food.
It sounds like you're having a blast.
MS: I'm in love. The store is my new baby; my new sweetheart. The community is leading the way. We have our own Love Doctor, Sheila Pearl, who wrote Ageless and Sexy; she's a 74-year-old therapist who had her life begin again at 69; she comes in and we talk about relationships. We bring in local wine and food; French butter cookies and chocolate-dipped strawberries from Zagat-rated Jean Claude's. Yeoldewarwickbookshoppe.com