St Denys bookshop to close
08 January 2018 IN: Parish News
St Denys Bookshop, the only Christian bookshop in the city, closes its doors for the last time at the end of this month. For Sue Usher and Penny Glover, who have run the shop for 35 years, it marks the end of an era.
Sue and Penny established St Denys, named after the cathedral, in the Corn Exchange in 1982. The vision was to create an independent Ecumenical bookshop that provided a good service for customers and stocked a range of church supplies, such as candles and wafers, as well as books.
Over the years St Denys has attracted a loyal clientele who are appreciative of the service provided. “Some of our customers are more like friends than customers”, said Penny. “They come from all traditions and denominations and each finds here something they value.”
As well as selling books, St Denys played an important role in feminist theology in the 1980s and ‘90s, attending conferences and events and making literature available. It has also been a big supporter of the diocese, taking a stall at every meeting of diocesan synod, at clergy conferences and, more recently, stocking the diocesan Directory. It supports fairtrade and a range of charities through its choice of product lines.
Sue and Penny had a narrow escape from the Corn Exchange when an IRA bomb exploded in the city in 1996. They nearly missed the evacuation of the building and escaped with minutes to spare. Penny’s chair was propelled into a window by the explosion.
After the damage, St Denys had to relocate to Oak Street and was left thousands of pounds in debt as a result of insurance losses. The pair rebuilt the business and in 2011 moved to their final location in the basement of the Cathedral Visitor Centre at 10 Cateaton Street.
Penny, who is keen to find new employment that will make use of her retail experience said, “Manchester has boomed to such an extent that rents are high now and it’s hard for small concerns to make a living. But we hope that another Christian retailer will be able to fill the space that we leave and make a go of it in the city. There’s a definite need.”
“We have no regrets”, says Sue. “It’s been great fun working here and we’re really thankful to all the people who’ve supported and cared for us over the years. I will be open to new opportunities and when the dust has settled will see what comes my way. We’ll make the best of the future.”
Pop along to St Denys to say goodbye and pick up a bargain before the end of February. Buy your copy of the new Diocesan Directory while stocks last!