Weston bookstore takes traditional approach to success in digital age

News May 11, 2017 by Dominik Kurek York Guardian

The book business sure is different in today’s digital age, and yet in Weston an independent bookstore carries on without hesitation as it has for generations.

The store, Squibb’s Stationers, is celebrating its 90th anniversary this month and is the oldest textbook and general bookstore in the Greater Toronto Area, its owners say.

“I don’t like change,” admits Suri Weinberg-Linsky, who inherited the store from her parents in 2001 and owns it with her husband Mike Linsky. “But you have to roll with it.”

While larger retailers have placed a greater emphasis on online sales, Squibb’s maintains its business model. Its main street presence invites walk-ins, orders can be placed in person, by phone or by email, and most of all customer care comes first.

But, changes have come to Squibb’s.

“We’ve had to change, otherwise we wouldn’t be here,” Suri said.

The bookstore and stationary, which opened in 1927 and has been at its current location since 1935, has sold general books and textbooks since day one.

Up until the 1990s, Squibb’s was the go-to store for books in the area and served the local schools for textbooks. Local public schools no longer buy from Squibb’s.

Long before Suri’s late parents, Jack and Marilyn Weinberg, bought the store in 1980, children used to line up on the street waiting to get into the store to pick up their schoolbooks.

Now, the store’s textbook sales go to parents of children attending a network of private schools in southern Ontario. The store delivers the books to the schools, buys back the books at the end of the semester, and resells them at a reduced price the following semester.

Stationary items and office supply sales have decreased, Suri said, but other items have gone up.

“This is not much different, product wise, than when Gordon (Squibb) had it, or when his parents (original owners Arthur and Cary Squibb) had it. It still has, essentially, the same product mix. The only thing we’ve added more over the years is gift items, what we’ve taken away is office supplies,” Suri said.

She said the book business has ebbs and flows. At one point, the store sold a handful of Bibles; now there’s a section of religious books.

“This is what people are reading, they’re reading Bibles,” Suri said.

Harry Potter also continues to sell all those years after publication. The store has a greater selection of children’s books than adult books, because people are less likely to shop for children’s books online the way they do for adult books, Suri said. There’s a Black History section, Canadian books get preferred placement, and items by local artists are sold as well.

Somehow, as retailers feared, eBooks haven’t killed the store.

“Another book seller and I used to commiserate eBooks would put us out of business in five years. That was 10 years ago,” Suri said. But, she doesn’t take anything for granted.

“I think we’ve been very lucky, very fortunate, particularly over the last 20 years,” she said.

For more information, visit www.squibbsstationers.com

Weston bookstore takes traditional approach to success in digital age

Squibb's Stationers is considered oldest bookstore in GTA

News May 11, 2017 by Dominik Kurek York Guardian

The book business sure is different in today’s digital age, and yet in Weston an independent bookstore carries on without hesitation as it has for generations.

The store, Squibb’s Stationers, is celebrating its 90th anniversary this month and is the oldest textbook and general bookstore in the Greater Toronto Area, its owners say.

“I don’t like change,” admits Suri Weinberg-Linsky, who inherited the store from her parents in 2001 and owns it with her husband Mike Linsky. “But you have to roll with it.”

While larger retailers have placed a greater emphasis on online sales, Squibb’s maintains its business model. Its main street presence invites walk-ins, orders can be placed in person, by phone or by email, and most of all customer care comes first.

But, changes have come to Squibb’s.

“We’ve had to change, otherwise we wouldn’t be here,” Suri said.

The bookstore and stationary, which opened in 1927 and has been at its current location since 1935, has sold general books and textbooks since day one.

Up until the 1990s, Squibb’s was the go-to store for books in the area and served the local schools for textbooks. Local public schools no longer buy from Squibb’s.

Long before Suri’s late parents, Jack and Marilyn Weinberg, bought the store in 1980, children used to line up on the street waiting to get into the store to pick up their schoolbooks.

Now, the store’s textbook sales go to parents of children attending a network of private schools in southern Ontario. The store delivers the books to the schools, buys back the books at the end of the semester, and resells them at a reduced price the following semester.

Stationary items and office supply sales have decreased, Suri said, but other items have gone up.

“This is not much different, product wise, than when Gordon (Squibb) had it, or when his parents (original owners Arthur and Cary Squibb) had it. It still has, essentially, the same product mix. The only thing we’ve added more over the years is gift items, what we’ve taken away is office supplies,” Suri said.

She said the book business has ebbs and flows. At one point, the store sold a handful of Bibles; now there’s a section of religious books.

“This is what people are reading, they’re reading Bibles,” Suri said.

Harry Potter also continues to sell all those years after publication. The store has a greater selection of children’s books than adult books, because people are less likely to shop for children’s books online the way they do for adult books, Suri said. There’s a Black History section, Canadian books get preferred placement, and items by local artists are sold as well.

Somehow, as retailers feared, eBooks haven’t killed the store.

“Another book seller and I used to commiserate eBooks would put us out of business in five years. That was 10 years ago,” Suri said. But, she doesn’t take anything for granted.

“I think we’ve been very lucky, very fortunate, particularly over the last 20 years,” she said.

For more information, visit www.squibbsstationers.com

Weston bookstore takes traditional approach to success in digital age

Squibb's Stationers is considered oldest bookstore in GTA

News May 11, 2017 by Dominik Kurek York Guardian

The book business sure is different in today’s digital age, and yet in Weston an independent bookstore carries on without hesitation as it has for generations.

The store, Squibb’s Stationers, is celebrating its 90th anniversary this month and is the oldest textbook and general bookstore in the Greater Toronto Area, its owners say.

“I don’t like change,” admits Suri Weinberg-Linsky, who inherited the store from her parents in 2001 and owns it with her husband Mike Linsky. “But you have to roll with it.”

While larger retailers have placed a greater emphasis on online sales, Squibb’s maintains its business model. Its main street presence invites walk-ins, orders can be placed in person, by phone or by email, and most of all customer care comes first.

But, changes have come to Squibb’s.

“We’ve had to change, otherwise we wouldn’t be here,” Suri said.

The bookstore and stationary, which opened in 1927 and has been at its current location since 1935, has sold general books and textbooks since day one.

Up until the 1990s, Squibb’s was the go-to store for books in the area and served the local schools for textbooks. Local public schools no longer buy from Squibb’s.

Long before Suri’s late parents, Jack and Marilyn Weinberg, bought the store in 1980, children used to line up on the street waiting to get into the store to pick up their schoolbooks.

Now, the store’s textbook sales go to parents of children attending a network of private schools in southern Ontario. The store delivers the books to the schools, buys back the books at the end of the semester, and resells them at a reduced price the following semester.

Stationary items and office supply sales have decreased, Suri said, but other items have gone up.

“This is not much different, product wise, than when Gordon (Squibb) had it, or when his parents (original owners Arthur and Cary Squibb) had it. It still has, essentially, the same product mix. The only thing we’ve added more over the years is gift items, what we’ve taken away is office supplies,” Suri said.

She said the book business has ebbs and flows. At one point, the store sold a handful of Bibles; now there’s a section of religious books.

“This is what people are reading, they’re reading Bibles,” Suri said.

Harry Potter also continues to sell all those years after publication. The store has a greater selection of children’s books than adult books, because people are less likely to shop for children’s books online the way they do for adult books, Suri said. There’s a Black History section, Canadian books get preferred placement, and items by local artists are sold as well.

Somehow, as retailers feared, eBooks haven’t killed the store.

“Another book seller and I used to commiserate eBooks would put us out of business in five years. That was 10 years ago,” Suri said. But, she doesn’t take anything for granted.

“I think we’ve been very lucky, very fortunate, particularly over the last 20 years,” she said.

For more information, visit www.squibbsstationers.com