Area book lovers have been anxiously waiting for the page to turn, wondering what would become of Hudson icon Learned Owl bookstore.
Friday morning, another chapter for the store began as Learned Owl employee Kate Schlademan, 37, signed papers to buy the business.
Longtime owner Liz Murphy announced in the spring that she wanted to sell the Learned Owl, a fixture on Hudson’s Main Street since 1968.
“I don’t think I could have found anyone better to love the Owl as I have and take it successfully into the coming decades,” Murphy said.
Schlademan began working at the Learned Owl in April 2011. She took the job after returning to Stow following a five-year stint in South Korea teaching English.
“It’s always been in the back of my mind to have a book shop,” Schlademan said. “I worked for Borders for seven years. It’s always been a dream, but I didn’t expect it to happen that quickly.”
Schlademan said the store would officially be hers March 15. She declined to reveal financial terms of the sale.
The sale does not include the wood frame 1868 building that is home to the store. Schlademan said she will lease the building from Murphy.
Eager to buy the store, Schlademan had turned to friends, family and complete strangers who share her love for the written word. She took advantage of a new trend in online social fundraising, where websites allow people to explain their need for money and site visitors can decide whether to donate to the cause.
Schlademan raised nearly $20,000 at www.indiegogo.com/owls-next-chapter as of Friday afternoon.
She said she’s not daunted by taking over a bookstore in this era of e-books.
“E-book sales are kind of leveling off and people are realizing they want their print books,” she said. “Last year, we had one of the best years ever. People are starting to shop local again.”
Murphy will stick around for awhile as a consultant.
“I will be working with Kate for the foreseeable future to ensure a seamless transition, but she really has been training for this role for two years,” Murphy said.
Added Schlademan: “I’m sure she’ll always be around, which is great. She’s dedicated to making sure that it continues to be successful.”
Murphy said she and her husband, Greg, have no plans to leave town, and she intends to become more involved with Destination Hudson and the Visitor Center, as well as continue working with the Merchants of Hudson.
And she’ll be a regular at the bookstore.
“I plan to be her best customer for years to come. Kate has assured me that I can still put LizPick stickers on my favorite books, and until a new book shop dog finds a forever home with Kate, Ruby will be making regular appearances,” she said.
To read Murphy’s notice about the sale of the store to Schlademan, go to www.learnedowl.com.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.