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Gibson's Bookstore, Imagination village to team up after move in Concord

To open a larger Gibson’s Bookstore on South Main Street, Michael Herrmann knew he needed more than just books. So he’s joining forces with Laura Miller, owner of Imagination Village.

Herrmann purchased the assets of Imagination Village, and Miller will work at the new Gibson’s Bookstore when it opens on South Main Street this summer.

She’ll run his stock of educational toys, games and puzzles, and organize children’s and family events for the bookstore.

“I’m still a bookstore purist,” Herrmann said. “I think, though, that what Laura does – what she’s built – is a great complement for a bookstore, can really take a bookstore to the next level.”

Miller, who opened Imagination Village 12 years ago to sell educational toys, said Herrmann first approached her with the idea last November.

“And it just made sense from the beginning,” Miller said. “I think the synergy between what we do with educational toys and games and puzzles and books . . . just fits into a very holistic kind of bookstore.”

Gibson’s Bookstore will move into Steve Duprey’s new building on South Main Street this summer, at the former site of the New Hampshire Bindery. Herrmann is leasing the entire first floor from Duprey for a 10,000-square-foot bookstore, part of which is subleased to True Brew Barista for a bookstore cafe.

The new children’s area at the new store will be larger than all of the current Gibson’s Bookstore, Herrmann said.

Miller said she’s especially excited to plan game nights, story hours and other events in that space.

Imagination Village has “a tiny space and we burst at the seams,” she said.

Gibson’s expanded offerings won’t just be for children, Herrmann said. He’ll also offer educational games and puzzles for adults.

“And Laura knows how to do that,” he said.

Their vision: Customers can walk into the new Gibson’s Bookstore and find a book or other gift to fit any interest.

Though many large bookstores across the country have started selling toys and games, Herrmann said he isn’t just following a trend or emulating a chain bookstore.

“It’s not just random gadgets or what’s hot at the moment,” he said. “This is a commitment to providing a service for children and families. It’s centered on books, but it’s not just that. It’s things that excite the imagination.”

Miller said some people have asked her why she’s giving up her business. But she describes it as “joining the Gibson’s family,” and she doesn’t look at it as going out of business.

“I don’t really think of it as saying goodbye,” she said. “I think of it as kind of reinventing it. And there’s so many new opportunities to take what we’ve learned and cherished, and the mistakes we’ve made in the last 12 years and develop something really exciting in the new space.”

(Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or or on Twitter @lmccrystal.)

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