Store: Sandy’s Books and Bakery
Location: Rochester, VT
I figured it was going to happen sooner or later. One day, in the midst of all the wonderful stores and great people, I’d visit a disappointing bookshop.
Sandy’s Books and Bakery is a bit of a misnomer. Granted, more space in the store is dedicated to books. Most of the shop is a maze of rooms filled with books.
Literally a maze.
More than once I found myself in a dead-end of books shelves instead of the entrance to the next room, if bookshelves can ever be considered a dead-end. Books are more of a beginning, aren’t they?
But even with all the books, Sandy’s is a bakery with books not a bookstore with a bakery.
The sign and website say the store has new and used books, but I didn’t find any new ones. I’m not saying they weren’t there, I just never located them.
Although not in my original plan, I’m not opposed to used bookstores. I had a lot of fun at the Eloquent Page in Saint Albans. But that store didn’t advertise new books.
I did find a room of fiction but was unable to discern any order to the novels.
There was an interesting shelf of “signed and first editions” that I perused for a while. I found a “first edition” book by Sue Grafton which made me realize that I never thought about newer books having first editions.
I associate the term with classics, the Hemingways, Austens and Twains, not the Graftons, Grishams and Browns.
But I suppose every book has a first edition.
The bookstore desk had a sign that said, “please pay for bookstore purchases at the bakery” or some such and that probably should have been a clue that this wasn’t going to go well.
At the bakery, I waited in line in back of a woman who was buying a whole pie because her son was visiting and then ordered some complicated drink called an “Aztec cocoa.”
Finally, after the girl behind the counter ran off to find a pie box and delivered the cocoa, I was able to explain the adventure and ask for a novel recommendation.
Note that I specifically said a novel.
The girl (I never got her name) disappeared into the kitchen. I thought she was getting someone who could help, maybe the owner or someone who knew more about the bookstore side of the business.
But she emerged alone and instead of taking me to the bookstore, pulled a book from a pile on the top of the pastry display.
“She said she’d recommend this one.”
Then she went back to selling croissants and muffins.
The book she handed to me was something about homesteading written, according to the sign on the display, by a local author.
I thumbed through the book and to my credit (at least I think it’s to my credit) I actually thought, “I guess I have to buy this” even though I had no interest in homesteading or any of the back to nature stuff and it clearly wasn’t a novel.
Flipping it over I saw that it was a $40 book and that’s when I decided I didn’t have to buy it at all.
If the store couldn’t bother to recommend a novel like I requested, why should I spend 40 bucks on a book I didn’t want?
So left Sandy’s Books and Bakery empty handed. (See photo below.)
I’d like to give the store the benefit of the doubt. After all, I visited on a Sunday morning and the bakery was busy.
Maybe if I had been there later in the day or on weekday, there would have been staff members in the book section ready and willing to talk literature with me.
But based on my experience, Sandy’s is all bakery and the books take a backseat to the sweets.