Wednesday, June 2, 2010
When walking down Richmond Street, this shop looks like your run-of-the-mill used bookstore, packed with Harlequin Romance novels and John Grisham audio books. But visitors are quick to discover a labyrinth of rooms and bookshelves in what was once an old movie theater. The surprisingly enormous store was converted into a hardware store and then to Port Richmond Books, a bookstore housing over 100,000 books
The store’s owner, Greg Gillespie, is an avid book collector. He originally needed a place to store his massive book collection and found just enough room at 3037 Richmond St. Three years ago he decided to share his collection and opened for business. “I always think of this book store as ‘where the wild books are,’” says Gillespie.
The store is organized in sections, with cases of books dedicated to specific subjects like Irish History. In the center room you will find extremely rare items like antique books and signed novels. You can even find vinyl in the music room or scattered throughout the store.
Even if you despise reading, Port Richmond Books is worth a visit. In the early 1900’s, the building was a silent movie theatre and still has the original pipe organ in the basement. Many believe that the store is haunted, as Gillespie and construction workers have reported paranormal sightings throughout the winding rooms.
The store also doubles as a social institution where regulars and friends hang out listening to music and exchanging ideas. But Gillespie welcomes any kind of reader of any age into his store because he genuinely wants people to fall in love with books like he has. “It doesn’t matter what people are reading,” he says. “They’re still reading.”
By Samantha Richcrick and Nicole Saylor, Group 8, Port Richmond
Posted by Nicole at 2:52 AM