Bridgeport downtown bookstore to open
BRIDGEPORT — When asked what people will find at Academy Books & Records when it opens Saturday, Mike Roer begins listing the kinds of unique items people will be able to find.
He then pauses and backtracks. “Everything,” he says. “Everything is here.”
From Bridgeport memorabilia and collectible vinyl records to antiquarian and contemporary books, Roer said he is offering a wide array of items in the downtown shop that he hopes will add to the revitalization of the neighborhood.
“It’s designed as a place to while away an afternoon,” said Roer, who is president of the Fairfield-based Entrepreneurial Foundation.
He said people are looking for more retail downtown. The city has had a difficult time attracting and retaining retail in the area, however, due in part to the tough retail climate and what developers and city officials argue is the need for more people both living and visiting the neighborhood.
Roer said he thinks there is a need for retail outlets that can attract more people, as well. “It makes the city a little more walkable,” he said.
For now, Roer plans to open the store on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m.
Phil Kuchma, who owns the Fairfield Avenue property, said he thinks Roer will be a great fit for the area. “I think it’s going to be very interesting to people,” he said. “Many of the books are not going to be as easy to find on the internet as some of the Amazon-type products.”
Roer said he has always liked to collect old books, records and memorabilia. “The store is a hobby that’s gotten out of control,” he joked.
Bridgeport has not had a bookstore since 2012, when Rainy Faye, which was also located downtown, closed its doors.
Academy Books & Records is located at 305 Fairfield Ave.