Written Words still going strong with new Shelton location

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Dorothy Sim-Broder owns Written Words Bookstore on Shelton’s River Road with her husband, David R. Broder, a financial consultant. (Photos by Brad Durrell)

 

In keeping with the name of her bookstore, Written Words, owner Dorothy Sim-Broder believes there will always be a demand for paper-bound books. She also feels independent bookstores can thrive in communities, despite the surge of e-readers.

“Literacy will never go away, and there’s still enough people out there that prefer reading books,” said Sim-Broder. “Research is also showing that the market for e-readers is leveling off right now.”

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Children’s books on display inside the Shelton bookstore.

Despite her positive outlook, the stagnant economy forced Sim-Broder to move Written Words this winter to a smaller retail site in Shelton, and she feels the new River Road location is the right size.

Last summer Terry Hernon MacDonald, a customer at Written Words, helped to jump-start the business by sponsoring a “cash mob.” Using social media, MacDonald urged members of the community to flock to the bookstore “with love, appreciation and cash,” she said.

She and many other loyal customers didn’t want Sim-Broder to close the bookstore’s doors.

“In the era of e-readers, a bookstore may seem unnecessary and quaint,” MacDonald said. “Who needs it when we have Amazon at our fingertips? But Amazon is a sterile experience.”

 

‘Bookstorming’

MacDonald is also concerned about e-readers and privacy issues. Along with people being tracked according to what they read, she’s read that publishers may alter the book’s content to suit each reader.

“Books will be ‘written’ to please the market,” MacDonald said. “The ‘writer’ will have little need for her imagination, and eventually a ‘book’ won’t need a writer at all.”

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Dorothy Sim-Broder inside Written Words Bookstore on River Road, where the six-year-old Shelton business moved from its White Hills location.

Written Words’ cash mob, which MacDonald dubbed “bookstorming,” was a success, MacDonald said. “People came out of the woodwork to share their ideas,” she said. “It turned out to be a great day for the bookstore and for all of us who love it so dearly.”

Sim-Broder said some customers cried when they learned the store may close. “They want this store to stay in town,” she said. “It’s their store and they’re very protective of it.”

Not only were customers supportive of her relocation to River Road, but some even helped with the actual move.

 

Community effort

Customer Bette Lynn Paez helped to organize the volunteers. She also worked on the space plan for the new store.

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A view inside the Shelton bookstore.

“Dorothy has such great commitment to the bookstore and to the community that everyone wants to be involved in her efforts,” Paez said.

Sim-Broder said she was amazed by the outreach efforts. “Volunteers showed up with their trucks and packed boxes,” Sim-Broder said. “A few people came to the new store to paint.”

Although the move took place in early February, a week before winter storm Nemo dropped a record-breaking amount of snow in the region, Sim-Broder said the move went smoothly.

“It couldn’t have been better,” she said. “People said they’ve never seen anything like this.”

According to MacDonald and Paez, Written Words is a vital part of the Shelton community.

“With bookstores growing scarce, Dorothy is a fantastic resource to have in Shelton,” Paez said. “She has a very engaging personality and works hard to ensure every customer’s satisfaction.

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This vintage photo of a Derby-bound trolley on Shelton’s Howe Avenue is on display inside Written Words Bookstore.

“Anyone who loves the feel of a book understands why Dorothy will succeed in this age of electronic devices,” Paez continued. “Beyond the books, it’s about making a personal connection, and Dorothy does that with everyone who walks through her door.”

In addition to selling books and reading accessories, Written Words continues to host knitting and food clubs as well as book signings.

For more information, go to www.writtenwordsbookstore.com.

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Dorothy Sim-Broder inside the Shelton bookstore.

 

 

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