Birdhouse bookstore opens in downtown Vancouver
Just weeks after dropping out of graduate school, the opportunity arose to open a bookstore with Summerhill. The new business partners quickly began preparations, signed the lease, and a month and a half later the bookstore was ready for a smooth opening.
Birdhouse offers a wide selection of books, but specializes in philosophy, classics, poetry, fantasy science fiction, and antiques. Birdhouse sells used books, with some new ones from local authors. Gubala said they are frequently looking for new books to collect.
When asked why they chose to open a bookstore now, at a time when technology has overtaken people’s lives, Summerhill said, “People say print is long dead and I think it is. becomes less true than ever.
“The same book you buy in a bookstore can be the same one someone read in the 1700s. Many of these books are timeless and they have influenced people for hundreds of years,” said Summerhill.
Summerhill added that interacting with books is a big part of the reading experience. “To feel the pages, and to smell them, is to have a very visceral experience.”
Gubala reflected on his own experience with the tech, saying he had a Facebook account since he was 13. He noticed that people’s attention spans are decreasing. But he said that while businesses prioritize screen time, novels stay with you for a while.
“The success of this store and our experience as a bookseller cannot be quantified in terms of monetary success. These are the people you meet along the way, and if we can get a book into someone’s hand, it can really change them profoundly and change the course they’re on. Then it’s a ripple impact that we have that can’t be broken down into dollars and cents, ”Gubala said.
The idea to name the bookstore Birdhouse came from the installation. Summerhill says the upstairs area looks like a nest. They also received comments from family members who vouched for the name.
Birdhouse is also a partner of the Phoenix Rising Art Gallery, which showcases the work of local artists. Summerhill and Gubala said they were happy with the partnership as it complements the two companies.
The couple had one piece of advice for future business owners: “Put it on the table. The worst thing that can happen is to fail, and in the end, it’s not bad because you can try again.
The owners hope to organize events such as poetry readings, book clubs, and literary events.