Supporters of locally owned bookstores will soon have one fewer option. The Book Rack & Children's Pages is calling it quits. The small but vibrant shop tucked amidst the Essex Outlet stores is closing on March 11, according to an email this Monday from owner Elaine Sopchak. Why? "Our location was not the best, we had considerable competition . . . and personal commitments arose that made it impossible for us to give the store the attention it needed," Sopchak writes. Unexpected "competition," at least for her time, arrived in the form of Sopchak's third child. She put the store up for sale, but negotiations with prospective buyers "fell through."
Sopchak is not going to disappear from Vermont's literary scene, however. "I'm hanging out my shingle as a publicist. Archer Mayor and Howard Mosher . . . have agreed to become my first illustrious clients," she reveals. Sopchak also is the assistant director of the Burlington Book Festival, a trustee at the Brownell Library, and on the steering committee of the new advocacy group, Local First Vermont. "There will be plenty to do," she says.
Does Addison County have an appetite for art flicks? Reception to recent showings of The Queen and Volver at the Marquis Theater suggests maybe. Patrons were "very excited" to see the Middlebury house broadening its focus beyond blockbusters, suggests Bill Shafer, who bought the venue earlier this winter. So he's considering more of the same. The idea wouldn't be to go exclusively artsy, or even with true indies, but to add more offerings along the lines of Pan's Labyrinth, The Last King of Scotland and Venus - all films "in the top 30 to 40 ranking in terms of film grossing," Schafer explains, "but a different flavor than your Spider Man."