As Cornwall’s Main Street starts to fill out with retail businesses and coffee shops, husband-and-wife duo Jason and Heather Locy thought a bookstore was the perfect addition to the Orange County town. As a result, independent bookstore Good Books opened in September with the intention of bringing the community together through reading and conversations.
For the Locys, this endeavor was inspired by their mutual love of reading and being around books. Along their travels, the two always seek out a local bookstore to support small businesses as well as have real conversations with owners and natives alike. Consequently, the Locys often daydreamed about starting their own bookstore, but the idea was never concrete until they moved to Cornwall. Jason affirms that although the venture seemed a little bit naïve in the beginning, he and Heather are ultimately so glad they did it.
Even though starting your own business is a huge undertaking, the Locys came well-equipped thanks to their backgrounds in creativity and branding. For the past 22 years, the husband-wife duo has owned creative agency FiveStone, which specializes in strategy, branding, and awareness campaigns, primarily for nonprofits and social enterprises. The Locys still run this business alongside their mom-and-pop bookshop.
Good Books is a small but mighty bookstore, carrying as many genres as its walls will fit to cater to a wide audience. From nonfiction favorites like biographies, philosophy, and cookbooks to fiction options like mystery, science fiction, and tales by local authors, Good Books has it all. In addition to their regular section, the Locys also keep their young adult and kids’ sections stocked with choices for younger reading levels. Aside from literature, the shop sells store merch featuring the Good Books logo on mugs and tote bags, as well as other knickknacks like puzzles, notebooks, temporary tattoos, and kids’ activity books.
For those looking to support the store and get more involved in the Cornwall community, the Locys started their Good Folks annual membership program, which offers a great deal to customers. The membership is $79 per year and, in return, members receive 40% off New York Times bestsellers, 20% off everything else in the store, and a free tote bag. In the future, Good Books plans to add some members-only events to the calendar to help create connections between regular customers.
Currently, the bookstore hosts several events and book clubs for anyone to enjoy. From family story times for the kids to author events and book signings, there is always something to keep Cornwall residents entertained in the shop. In the longer term, Good Books also hopes to hold writing and creativity-based workshops for middle and high school students.
“We think the bookstore can serve as a ‘third place’ and create a sense of community. We’ve seen this already; friends bump into each other at the store and then spend time chatting and connecting. We’ve seen people who don’t know each other strike up conversations about a book they both liked or disliked. In this way, the store provides a place for connection. We want to push into this and allow more space for that to happen,” says Jason.
At Good Books, the Locys are excited about the prospect of being a center for community and a place of discovery. Already, people are stopping by to chat, hang out, buy a book, or just be around literature. The strong community reception is indicative that for many, a bookstore in Cornwall was exactly what they needed. When it comes to favorite picks, the Locys affirm that finding the perfect book for a customer is always the best pick of all, because everyone should read good books.
Good Books is located at 284 Main Street in Cornwall.