467 Main Street, Bennington, VT
This little shop located in picturesque downtown Bennington, Vermont is almost like a miniature indie version of a Barnes & Noble, in that it features all new books in a bright, clean environment, and has a dash of all the major categories and styles. But it has just enough local flavor to make it unique to this particular town and region, too. Plus, it’s close to a handful of cafes and restaurants I really enjoy, so it’s always a must whenever I pass through Bennington.
The front of the shop features a few chairs near the big windows looking out onto Main Street. It’s a relaxing, bright spot to rest for a few minutes. Also toward the front are the newest bestsellers, a table with notable titles and coffee table books, a selection of regional authors, trail guides and maps, and nonfiction titles pertaining to the town, region, and state of Vermont. In the past I purchased one of those “spooky” books exploring local legends and haunted houses of the area, and while they sometimes have those in stock, I saw mostly history, outdoors activities, biographies, and local novelists.
Along the left wall and in nearby aisles are the fiction titles, with fantasy, sci-fi, and mystery/crime sections, the latter including titles by local crime author Archer Mayor. The right wall focuses more on nonfiction, like politics, history, religion, social topics, cookbooks, etc. There are also a few stands and displays for discounted new titles, up to 40% off. I didn’t see this the last time I was in and it’s a welcomed feature. I always look for shops that have at least a small discounted section.
Toward the rear they had a large and diverse children’s section, with everything from picture books, first readers, chapter books, middle grade, and YA, with educational books as well as entertaining titles and bestselling novels for kids. There are a few gifts and postcards scattered about as well, but it’s not a huge shop. The staff are pleasant and I think they still have a deal with other Vermont shops that if you visit them all and check them off a list you get some sort of discount. Ask about that, I didn’t jot it down at the time so I could be off. See? One more reason to go; you get to correct my homework!
Atmosphere — A clean and pleasant one-room shop that has a little bit of everything. A quaint pillar of downtown Bennington.
Quality — The books are all new and ever the discounted titles are in good shape and feature notable authors.
Quantity — It’s not a huge shop and some sections are appropriately modest, but there’s a lot for kids, mystery fans, and those interested in general fiction and the major nonfiction categories.
Diversity — An average amount of diversity. You’re going to hit the big names here, with a few deep cuts mixed in, but with a smaller shop the mix might be spread out to meet your more general needs.
Affordability — New books for new prices, although it’s nice to see some 40% off titles. So you may find some deals in there.
Amenities — A couple chairs, some gifts and postcards, but if you’re looking to spend time relaxing I suggest one of the nearby restaurants or coffee shops.
Location — Located a couple blocks away from the downtown intersection or the “four corners” as most people I know call it. There are a lot of neat little shops and cafes, so enjoy an afternoon in Bennington.
Customer Service — The staff were very polite and quiet.
Overall — This is a nice shop and a place I recommend if you’re looking to support a local indie while hunting down a new bestseller. It’s just right for a place like Bennington.