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Final Chapter: Mendham Books to Close in March

Community staple can't come to terms on new lease, owner says.

Have you ever read a book that you wish wouldn’t end? And when no sequel is announced, you’re heartbroken?

That story is becoming reality at Mendham Books, a staple of the community for 17 years. 

Owner Tom Williams has announced the store will be closing in mid-March after the business and landlord of Kings Shopping Plaza could not come to terms on a new lease.

Known for its local feel and ability to serve the community’s reading needs through the various changes in media over the years, Mendham Books offered a selection for readers of all ages, and was a major part of the neighborhood’s story.

“We try and do our best,” for the customers, Williams said. “Right now we’re focusing on closing out the shop and putting on huge sales for customers to come and get some last items. And we’d love to say hello to everyone, too.”

Williams said one of his favorite parts of being in the community on a daily basis was watching the town – and its members – grow.

“We’d watch kids come in strollers, and see them buy board books,” Williams said. “Next thing you know, those same kids are in buying the latest teen fad, like Hunger Games or whatever the hot seller was.”

Mendham showed itself as a tight-knit community, Williams said, and became so close with some customers that he’s attended funerals.

The bookstore was also known for its ability to bring in local authors as well as celebrities for signings and readings, from Caroline Kennedy to countless athletes, both retired and active. When asked which, if any, were his favorite memories, Williams admitted there were too many to count.

“It would be like saying which of your children you liked better,” he said. “There were so many great memories.”

While the chapter of Mendham Books in the Kings Shopping Plaza winds to its final few sentences, the story may not be over. Williams said the business is keeping its email distribution list and accounts open.

“Right now we need to just catch our breath (with the closing),” he said. “But for future plans, we just don’t know yet.”

While this book is coming to an end, the story may not be over.

delwood dame February 07, 2014 at 06:51 AM
Mendham Books is one of the most charming places. The owners are very creative in driving traffic with wide variety of book signings, etc. It would be a loss. We would love have them in Chester. I hope the new owners vision isn't all cosmetic. There's more than that to be successful. They have to work out some sort of grandfather clause or arrangement if mendham books wants to stay. Both the Chesters and Mendham need them!
Sir February 07, 2014 at 09:10 AM
Waiting for the Dems to blame Chris Christie on this one...stay tuned to MSNBC tonight for BREAKING NEWS on the newest Christine scandal.
L Lowe February 07, 2014 at 11:01 AM
Mendham Books is by far the most mentioned business when there is ever any feature on the borough or Mendham in general. It's a part of the fabric of town. People may not realize what a feat it is to have had all the amazing authors they've secured. The same ones the big chain bookstores have. Can't believe V-FEE Realtors and Tom Maoli think charging such an egregious amount for rent helps "keep the center a place for neighbors to meet." Perhaps it just helps "keep Maoli wealthy and disinterested" in the actual tenants. Where is the council on this?
kittykitty February 07, 2014 at 11:22 AM
This is such a sad state of affairs in the Mendhams. I was in the store yesterday and every person expressed their sorry to Tom and the staff. If only the landlord had the guts to show his face and see the devastation he's wrought with his money-hungry demands on the tenants of the shopping center. Does anyone not consider that if the stores that provide our towns with a certain feel, charm and spot to gather and see your neighbors move out, what will happen to our real estate values?
Peekaboo February 07, 2014 at 01:57 PM
Perhaps it is time for Tom Maoli to put his money where his mouth is and reconsider the terms of his lease for the bookstore. When he said "It's a place where they meet neighbors. I want people to feel proud of being a part of the Mendham community." I think he forgot about his good intentions. Our Mendham Books was just that place. We met at book signings and gathered at the end of the school year to buy our children's summer reading books. At vacation time we bought our travel guides and if you forgot a birthday, it was easy to pop in, buy a book and get it wrapped at the same time. Mendham Books has been part of the community for a very long time and it will be with very heavy heart when we have to say goodbye...:(

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