Greenfield’s Roundabout Books to expand tenfold with new Pierce Street location

  • Raymond Neal, owner of Roundabout Books, in what will be the children’s books area at the business’ new location on Pierce Street. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Raymond Neal, owner of Roundabout Books, in the top floor of the business’ future location on Pierce Street. Neal expects it will be at least a year before the bookstore is ready to open there. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • The ground level will be for sorting books at Roundabout Books’ future location on Pierce Street. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Raymond Neal, owner of Roundabout Books, in front of the business’ future location on Pierce Street. Neal expects it will be at least a year before the bookstore is ready to open there. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Raymond Neal, owner of Roundabout Books, in its curent location on Kenwood Street. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 7/22/2021 4:45:31 PM

GREENFIELD — On a walk to the Greenfield High School track last winter — during the first holiday Roundabout Books had been closed for any period of time — owner Raymond Neal noticed a “For Sale” sign outside 85 Pierce St., a building he’d been admiring for the last decade.

“I just think it’s beautiful,” he said.

Although Neal hadn’t necessarily been in the market for a new building to house Roundabout Books, currently located at 26 Kenwood St., he said he has always been open to new opportunities.

“I think we’re always looking for … an opportunity for something that works,” he said. “Seeing something like this, this was amazing.

The property was sold to Roundabout Books by Joel and Kristie Tognarelli, who began Tognarelli Heating and Cooling in 1999, offering heating, air conditioning and plumbing services. In 2017, the family-owned energy business merged with Sandri Energy, though the Tognarellis continued to work from their Pierce Street offices under Sandri Energy’s umbrella.

The Pierce Street location will allow the business to expand its store collection of about 10,000 volumes to roughly 100,000 volumes, Neal said. He still expects to maintain an online store, which offers 20,000 items, and his staff of 10 will remain the same.

“We’ll just have space to put all of our books,” he said.

The property — 10,000 square feet at its largest — won’t require extensive renovation, Neal said, but there are plans to replace the HVAC system, improve accessibility by adding a ramp at the front entrance and add solar power.

“It’s got good southern exposure, so that’s very useful in terms of a modern energy environment,” he said.

Envisioning aspects of the interior, Neal said the first floor will include a large children’s room, while upstairs — which has dozens of windows to let in natural light — will have books for browsing and a rest area with couches.

Neal expects it will be at least a year before the bookstore is ready to open in its new location.

“This is a very different canvas,” he said, comparing the new space to the 10,000-square-foot rented commercial space on Kenwood Street, in the former Kimball’s Laundry building. “I’m not going to rush it. If we can get it done quickly, that’s great, but if it takes a year, that’s fine. I want to keep building on what we’ve done.”

After nine years on Kenwood Street, Neal said he’s learned how to make a living in the retail book business.

“Now we’re at the fun part,” he said. “The first nine years was trying to get it operating, the selling and the hiring; now, we’ll just keep making it better, if we can.

“I have a vision of wanting to make something that is really outstanding,” he added.

More information on Roundabout Books is available at roundaboutbookstore.com.

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne




Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy