RUTLAND — Phoenix Books officially opened its doors Monday, Sept. 28, to a crowd of supporters and customers anxious to support the store, independent bookselling and the ongoing revitalization of downtown Rutland.
“It’s a spectacular addition to downtown and a symbol of the ongoing rebirth of the city at large,” Mayor Chris Louras said. “The space, the inventory and the staff will bring new life to Center Street and complement the growing stable of businesses that have contributed to downtown’s renaissance.”
“We could not be happier to be in Rutland,” co-owner Michael DeSanto said. “The energy and forward momentum in the community are contagious, and have inspired us throughout our journey, from the initial idea to today’s grand opening. It’s a palpable force.”
Co-owner Tricia Huebner, who will manage the store, and invested in it with her husband, Tom, said the store’s opening is testament to Rutland’s grit and determination.
“Phoenix didn’t come looking for Rutland, Rutland came looking for Phoenix,” Huebner said. “That’s a powerful thing. The collaboration that lead to us to today is unique to Rutland and shows how important it is for a community to work together.”
Mike Coppinger, executive director of the Downtown Rutland Partnership, said the store exceeded his expectations. “It’s not only a book store, but a gift shop and a community space,” Coppinger said. “It will be an additional draw to bring people in to shop, and a wonderful new thread in the tapestry of downtown Rutland.”
DeSanto and Huebner said the store would carry a wide variety of books for children and adults, Castleton University items, small gifts, toys and calendars.
Phoenix came to Rutland as a result of a recruitment effort lead by Green Mountain Power in collaboration with Mayor Chris Louras, Mark Foley Jr., the DRP and dozens of local residents and businesses that made $1,000 book prebuys. GMP President and CEO Mary Powell said the company’s focus on energy as a socioeconomic driver for Rutland expanded to retail recruitment thanks in part to the company’s participation in Project VISION.
“Through Project VISION, we were inspired to expand our thinking about how we could contribute to Rutland’s future, and Phoenix Books is one of the results,” Powell said. “I see the bookstore as so much more than a place to shop, but as a place to explore ideas and possibilities, which is what Project VISION is all about.”
Phoenix Books Rutland will host its first author event Wednesday at the Green Mountain Power Energy Innovation Center, hosting Chris Bohjalian at 7 p.m. Bohjalian will read from and answer questions about his new book, “Close your Eyes, Hold Hands,” a New York Times Best Seller.