The Reading Tree has gone from strength to strength.

Mum enjoys new chapter of business with successful bookshop in Weedon

Whether you are looking for your favourite author, a book for the children or simply some ‘me’ time, a shop in Weedon could be on just the right page.

By Lucie Green
Friday, 14th January 2022, 5:36 pm

The Reading Tree is a new and pre-loved book-shop based in the beautiful countryside setting of The Depot.

It stocks thousands of books new and pre-owned - but there's something rather special about the price. All the new titles are £2.50, regardless of the RRP.

Owner Michelle Jay takes up the story.

"I've always been a voracious reader and have a real love for physical bookshops, so it has always been a dream of mine to have my own bookshop.

"Unfortunately my previous business had to close due to the pandemic, but I picked myself up and started selling books online. Right from the start I made the decision that I didn't want to sell through eBay or Amazon, that I wanted to build my own community of book lovers."

Since opening her business in May 2020, it now has more than 73,000 followers on Facebook and sells more than 2,000 books a week online.

Michelle added: "We moved into our current location in the historic Royal Ordnance Depot, a beautiful canalside, listed building originally as a warehouse, to fulfil our online orders; but the building is so beautiful I decided to convert it into a retail premises and when non-essential retail was allowed to reopen in April 2021, we opened to the public - it was the best business decision I've ever made.

"Not only do I absolutely love running the shop (an absolute dream), but we now sell as many books in-store as we do online. "

She said response from the local community has been incredible.

Michelle added: "The business has grown significantly - mainly due to word of mouth - and we see the same faces on a regular basis which is absolutely wonderful.

"We do run events when we are able to, such as storytime for pre-schoolers on a Monday morning, and an after-school happy hour where children can come get a book, cake and a milkshake for £5. We also run events throughout the school holidays, and we are looking to start a book club in the spring."

The Reading Tree is a real family business, with Michelle's three children lending a hand during school holidays.

"We were also thrilled to win the Muddy Stillettos award for Best Bookshop in Northamptonshire in 2021 - this award is voted for by the local community, and we were up against some other amazing local bookshops who have been established for a lot longer than us," she said.

"We were absolutely thrilled to have won."

She said it's been a challenge and hard work.

But Michelle says every second has been worth it.

"Starting a new business, particularly a customer-facing retail business. during the pandemic, coupled with a busy family life, has not been easy," she said,

"But I absolutely love it and am so glad I took the plunge and I'm really optimistic for the future, in fact we are looking to open a second location very soon....so watch this space."

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