A new bookstore is set to debut in downtown Searsport this week, 11 years after Left Bank Books moved to Belfast.
Anodyne Book Shop is opening at 33 East Main St., in a newly renovated space just up the road from popular eatery Hey Sailor! and across the street from homegoods shop Trove.
It’s the latest in a string of new businesses setting down roots in the midcoast town. A brewery, two galleries and several new restaurants have opened or plan to open in the near future.
Owner Elly Burnett was attracted by the new businesses opening in Searsport and decided it was the right time and place for her store.
“It seemed like Searsport was about to experience some sort of revival,” Burnett said.
The light, airy store with exposed brick and a white tin ceiling was nearing completion Monday with many bookshelves filled, greeting cards arranged in racks and tote bags hanging for sale.
Burnett is hoping the store will be a soothing, comforting place for the community — something she has always found bookstores to be. Her store will stock both new and used — she likes to call them “pre-loved” — books. But she’s also waiting to see what customers want and will make stock choices based on that.
Opening a bookstore is something Burnett decided to do after realizing she needed a change in career. A former lawyer, Burnett stepped away from practicing law during the pandemic to care for her four children. When things calmed down, she realized she didn’t want to return to her practice.
“There are certain times in your life that are these forks in the road,” Burnett said. That was hers.
Burnett worked in bookstores in college and also has a degree in English. So opening a bookstore felt like the right, if spontaneous, decision.
Anodyne joins several new bookstores that have opened in Maine over the past several years including Bogan Books in Fort Kent and Compass Rose Books in Castine. Left Bank Books moved from downtown Searsport to Belfast in 2012. Searsport is home to several stores catering to used books, but Anodyne stands out for also selling new books.
Burnett has been hearing from other downtown retailers already, welcoming her shop to town.
“The welcome I have received has been tremendous,” Burnett said.
Anodyne Book Shop is planning a soft opening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday. The grand opening will be Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Check the store’s Facebook page for hours once it’s open.