Bangor Bookshop celebrates 40th anniversary

Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 5:59 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - “I love it, you know, people ask me when are you going to retire and I say I retired 43 years ago,” said Eric Furry, Pro Libris proprietor.

One Bangor staple is hitting a milestone.

Pros Libris Bookshop has been in business for 43 years.

But, on May 1, they’re celebrating 40 years at their current location on Third Street.

Furry started this endeavor after working for a book chain in Ohio and then to Bangor.

“When I got out of college I had a Bachelor of Liberal Studies, which is not qualifications for doing much of anything. So, I went to work for the B. Dalton bookseller chain. And one night I got out of work. And I met this big scruffy guy in a bar, who is Turkish, taking shots of whiskey and throwing down beers and reading Sylvia Plath. Went up to him, I said, ‘Who the heck are you?’ And it turned out he had a bookstore,” said Furry.

First came a friendship, then a business opportunity.

One day the Plath fan came to him with an idea, offering to sell him 8,000 books for $800 for Furry to open is own shop.

“I said, ‘Let me think about it.’ I thought about it for about 20 minutes and I called him back and said, ‘Yeah, I’ll do that,’ and that was in 1980 and I opened my doors initially October 1, 1980,” Furry said.

After his original location on Franklin Street was bought, Furry re-located the shop to Third Street, which he says was a great location with steady traffic.

But then,

“Thirty-five years ago this summer the store burned down. I lost all my inventory. And I also lost, almost all my personal stuff because I was living in the back of the store at the time. It just happened that night it was my birthday and I went camping, or I might not be here today. I did, I lost my cat in the fire. So, the landlord, totally gutted, just left the shell. Fortunately, the city let me set up in my house next door and sell out of there,” said Furry.

Over the years, the shopping center and traffic patterns have changed.

Not to mention the rise of readers getting their literature from Amazon or through devices.

But, despite such factors, Furry still opens the shop five days a week for the customers he does have, and is still happy to do so.

“I could spend the rest of the day telling you about all kinds of heartwarming incidents. I’m going to be 74 in July, and I’m holding up pretty well, so I’m hoping to keep doing this for a long time to come,” added Furry.