Photo: Meridyn Lyle and Jo Hicks

The Yass Bookstore is set to reopen tomorrow (Thursday, February 24) at the Liberty Theatre.

The store is situated behind the craft store in the reception of the building and entry is via Lead Street (opposite Kaffeine Café). The location was previously a Video Ezy and still features the painted black film strip at the top of the wall.

An independent bookshop the store sells a wide range of books including children’s, teen and young adult, and fiction and non-fiction.

You will also find quality stationery, cards, wrapping paper, and notebooks, with a focus on Australian and sustainable brands. There are also candles, puzzles, art, and local handmade items sold in the store.

Open from 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Friday and 10am to 3pm on Saturdays. The Yass Bookstore’s opening day will feature local notable author Tracey Hawkins at 4pm on Thursday, who will be available to sign copies of her new children’s book, The Riddle of Tanglewood Manor.

The book is aimed at years 7+ and involves a move into an old house with lots of secrets and a riddle found in a book.

Throughout the pandemic, owner Jo Hicks largely sold her merchandise online through a click & collect system.

But Jo said she is excited to reopen, and it will be nice to have a larger space, after operating out of a cottage along Comur Street near the car wash at the edge of town.

“We’ve been out [at the cottage on Comur Street] for about three or four months,” she said. “But a lot of it’s taken a while for people to find out about us, it’s a bit hard for people to get to.”

Meridyn Lyle works with Jo through the Yass Bookstore selling products from her business, Meri Collectables in store.

The pair expressed their excitement over having a large window display in the store’s new location.

“It’s nice being in the cottage but it’s a smaller space as well so we’ll have much more space [at the Liberty The- atre],” Jo said.

She began the business in July last year but when another COVID-19 wave hit the store moved to an online business model for a short time before reopening again come September.

“I just love books and I think there’s a gap in Yass for children’s books and books in general really.”

“It’s all new books and stationery and then I also have support from local artists and makers who make ceramics and other handmade things like jewellery.”

Jo said entering a bookstore was a very calming experience, which many of her customers reiterate when they enter the store.

“It is a nice space just to hang out really with the smell of books,” she said. “Just to be surrounded by books and be able to browse.”

“I have lots of good conversations here with people about what they read and different things.”

Jo said it was busy over the Christmas period when a lot of people purchased their Christmas presents.

The bookstore is also hoping to hold events and community competitions and Jo said she’s working with local schools.

“It’d be fantastic if people came down on Thursday (February 24), just to say hi.”

By Brianna O’Rourke