Christine Hanson left Bookmark after 25 years on Friday with mixed emotions.
The first thing she had planned though, was to visit a book festival, which tells us a lot about the passion that Christine has devoted to the Spalding bookshop over the years.
As excited by books, authors and the book publishing world as ever, Christine was looking forward to meeting Marigold Hotel author Deborah Moggach.
Deborah is just one of many authors Christine has met – and brought to Spalding for book signing and reading events – during 25 years.
Among the first was Christopher Awdry of the Thomas books fame, and he and his wife gave Christine the financial backing she needed to expand from the small bookshop she initially bought from Mike Kingham.
Christine moved Bookmark a few doors down the road to the much bigger former Lowe’s Furniture store in The Crescent.
Christine said: “We opened in June 1998 and we doubled business within the first year, so it was the right thing to do.”
However, Christine also recognises that she was able to make a success of the shop thanks to local business people who have acted as mentors, as well as with the support of her team and the book reading public.
“I have been able to realise my dream and had some wonderful experiences,” she says.
Not content with a bigger shop, Christine rapidly grew the business by supplying books to local colleges and schools.
Paperbacks were at their peak in 2002, driven by the popularity of things like Harry Potter and films based on fiction.
That has changed over the past ten years, and Christine says: “I have had to change the shop to survive by introducing gifts and toys, but it was still the right thing to do because now people are looking for a shopping experience and I think that’s what they get here.
“The paper book is still holding its own and I think it will continue to do so.”
Christine, who is handing over the business to the proprietors of Charmed Interiors, is looking forward to time for gardening, collecting – and possibly writing a book.