A much-loved independent Kenilworth business will be celebrating its 55th anniversary this month with a party for its customers both returning and new.
Kenilworth Books, based in Talisman Shopping Centre, has been at the heart of the town since May 1968.
And on Sunday, May 21, the shop will open its doors between 11am and 3pm for a party, which will include face painting, musicians and a visit from some alpacas.
The shop was opened first by Norman Stevens, but is now owned and managed by Judy Brook who bought the shop in 2014.
Judy is also known in the town for her work supporting Kenilworth Arts Festival, and helping to build the community group Friends of Talisman Square – which has led to the shopping area being transformed into a bee-friendly haven of flowers.
She said: “Running Kenilworth Books has been a rewarding and extraordinary experience – it really is so much more than just a shop; there’s something about it that embodies the whole community spirit of Kenilworth as a town.
“We have built a lovely and knowledgeable team who are at the heart of everything we do. The bookshop has become not only a strong business but also a focal point for community energy.
“Although the digital world is growing all the time, nothing replaces the experience of coming into a bookshop and picking up a book.
"There’s still something very special about being able to browse, chat about recommendations and join in events with authors and illustrators.
“The bookshop is as much a local gathering place as it is a thriving economic part of the town.
"It’s a sort of sanctuary where everyone is welcome and where the whole family can find something of interest.”
The company carried on delivering a service during the pandemic by running a local click-and-collect, as well as a book-post service across the country.
But they were also keen to get back to hosting events too.
Judy added: “Hosting events both in the shop and in venues around town, and bringing authors into schools, is very much part of what we do as a bookshop.
"It’s not just about what happens in the shop – it’s about taking our work out into the community too.
“We have long been sponsors and supporters of the Kenilworth Arts Festival, and we’ve also partnered and collaborated with our local libraries, Stratford Literary Festival, Coventry Cathedral, Warwick Institute of Engagement based at Warwick University, Kenilworth Castle and local theatres in the region too – not to mention the many schools into which we’ve taken authors and illustrators.
“Our birthday event promises to be a fantastic day with lots going on and we hope to see as many people as possible come along, whether they’ve been a customer for decades or never been to the shop before.
"We want to celebrate with the whole community.”