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Arts & Culture

This story originally appeared in The Coast on Jan 17, 2014:


Bookmark’s for sale
Atlantic Canada’s oldest indie bookstore seeks new ownership
By Chris Benjamin

Halifax’s only independent adult bookstore is for sale, along with its Charlottetown counterpart. Bookmark is the longest running independent bookstore in Atlantic Canada.

The news comes a year after the death of the stores’ founder and owner, Rodney Jones, at 66. His family—daughters Tarra Drevet and Charla Jones, and brother Larry Jones—has been running the business since Jones’ death. The company’s shareholders have arranged to sell the stores through a broker, Wayne Carew of MRSB Mergers & Acquisitions.

Interested potential buyers have been contacting the family since Jones’ death. “We’ve made contact with a number of people in the industry,” says Larry Jones, Rodney’s brother. “The intention is for the stores to stay the same.”

“The family knows how much these stores and the book business meant to Rodney,” says Halifax store manager Mike Hamm. Until a buyer is found, it’s business as usual at the Spring Garden Road shop, and Hamm is cheerfully optimistic about the future. “I’m positive that there’s a great match to be found.”

Jones opened the first Bookmark in Charlottetown in 1972 to support a growing family, and expanded to Halifax 25 years ago. He succeeded on a fierce passion for reading, without formal retail training.

The stores have remained while other independent stores, and even a major nearby chain, have closed. Bookmark has long been an important supporter of local authors, featuring local works prominently in the front windows, hosting author signings and selling at Halifax and Charlottetown book launches.