Courtesy of Phoenix Books Rutland
Phoenix Books Rutland celebrated its grand opening on Monday, Sept. 28. With 150 community members in attendance, there was a literal outpouring of community support.
RUTLAND — On Monday, Sept. 28, Phoenix Books Rutland, born through a community-supported pre-buy program and local investment, celebrated its grand opening, followed two days later by an event with arguably Vermont’s most successful author, Chris Bohjalian.
Approximately 150 people were in attendance at the grand opening and ribbon cutting. Mayor Chris Louras, Steve Costello (vice president – generation and energy innovation for Green Mountain Power), Mary Powell (President & CEO, Green Mountain Power) and Mike Coppinger (executive director, Downtown Rutland Partnership) spoke, as well as Phoenix Books Rutland’s co-owner/manager Tricia Huebner and Phoenix Books co-owner Mike DeSanto. Attendees were lined up down the sidewalk and into the road, which was partly blocked to traffic for the event.
The business and government communities of Rutland were there to fully support this effort, said DeSanto. “Renee [Reiner, co-owner of Phoenix Books] and I were both moved. I’ve never seen such an outpouring of support for a business,” he said. Following the ribbon cutting, attendees joined booksellers in the shop to enjoy coffee, cider, donuts and, of course, books.
The grand opening followed a Sept. 27 reception for pre-buyers and other key supporters. Green Mountain Power, with support from the Downtown Rutland Partnership, Mayor Chris Louras, and a variety of local residents, organizations and businesses, recruited DeSanto to Rutland. GMP Vice President Steve Costello enlisted more than 50 people and businesses to pre-buy $1,000 worth of books each last fall to support the store.
“I thought he was kidding when we met for the first time and he said he already had $30,000 committed,” DeSanto said. “I’ve never seen a community rally like Rutland has rallied around us. It is humbling.”
The Sept. 30 event with Chris Bohjalian was held at the GMP Energy Innovation Center – where the idea of Phoenix Books Rutland began last November. An enthusiastic crowd packed the Energy Innovation Center to hear Bohjalian speak.
“We’ve been blessed with incredible community support, so we wanted to do something big to mark the opening,” DeSanto said. “Few Vermont authors are more successful than Chris. His appearance is kind of a ‘thank you’ to the community for the amazing reception we’ve received.”
Phoenix Books was established in 2007 on the principles of social responsibility, community, and sustainability, and is a proud member of Local First Vermont and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. Phoenix Books Burlington, Phoenix Books Essex, and Phoenix Books Rutland are locally-owned, independent bookstores.