booksonbeechwood.ca A screenshot from the Books on Beechwood website.

Workers at the Books on Beechwood store are breathing a sigh of relief after a longtime customer has come in to save the shop from closing its doors permanently.

Employee Antoinette Fracassi said the buyer, who is being kept anonymous for now, will take over the independent bookstore’s lease in January. Store owner Jean Barton was planning to sell the business next month after serving the New Edinburgh community for more than 18 years.

“I feel great because it’s like a little bit of a hub in the community. People come in, we chat, keep up on the news and they give us news. It’s a great, meeting-gathering place,” she said.

She also gets to keep her job, too.

Customers who came into the store Wednesday shared the same excitement, she said.

“There was about seven or eight people in here and somebody said, ‘Oh, the store’s staying open.’ And everybody said, ‘Oh, really? That’s the best news. That’s the best Christmas news we’ve had,’” said Fracassi.

Fracassi said the new buyer approached the Barton last month. The store will be operate normally in the new year in the same location on Beechwood Avenue and all five part-time staff will stay on, she said.

A five-alarm fire devastated the community in March 2011 after several business across the street from Books on Beechwood were destroyed. Fracassi said it contributed to a reduction in customers at her store.

“That’s a lot of foot traffic that has disappeared,” she said. “They all brought traffic to the area.”

Mother Tongue Books and Nicholas Hoare closed earlier this year. Another independent bookstore — Collected Works — will close down unless a buyer comes forward by Dec. 24, according to CBC News.

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