New bookstore coming to Westerly

Bank Square Books in Mystic announced Tuesday that it will be operating a new, independent bookstore on Canal Street in Westerly starting next year.

Bank Square Books co-owner Annie Philbrick said in an online announcement that the project would be undertaken in partnership with local restaurateur Dan King and his father-in-law, Chuck Royce, principal owner of the Ocean House hotel in Watch Hill.

“Dan King and Chuck Royce are the creative forces behind the revitalization of the downtown Westerly and other properties in the region,” the bookstore said in its announcement. “With the recent closing of The Other Tiger (bookstore) in Westerly, all parties felt the need for and the importance of an independent bookstore in a local community.”

The yet-to-be-named bookstore, planned to include a cafe as well, will be located at the historic Martin House, formerly the Savoy Hotel, at 10 Canal St. The 2,500-square-foot space on two floors is expected to open next spring.

Philbrick, who owns Bank Square Books with partner Patience Banister, said Royce and King approached her about running the bookstore because they were impressed with the Mystic bookstore.

“It was quite a compliment,” she said. “I couldn’t say no.”

Philbrick said Royce “couldn’t imagine a community without a bookstore.” She said he had previously approached The Other Tiger owner Robert Utter about buying his High Street bookstore that closed last spring, but they couldn’t come to an agreement.

Philbrick said she would be ordering books for the Westerly store through her Mystic outlet, at least initially. She will be hiring a manager to handle day-to-day bookstore operations in Westerly, she said, and might sublet the cafe space to a restaurant operator.

She said the Canal Street space includes wood floors and brick walls. Architects are currently drawing up plans for the building, which is owned by 10 Canal Street LLC, a company owned by Royce and King, she said.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Chuck Royce and Dan,” Philbrick said. “They’re great people. They’re really into revitalizing downtown Westerly.”

l.howard@theday.com
Twitter: @KingstonLeeHow

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