There is a yawning gulf between bookselling and book buying – none more pronounced than at Nicholas Hoare, whose Montreal warehouse has separated the back room boys from the front lines for over forty years.
Throughout those halcyon days, however, our central buying would have been for nought but for the redoubtable efforts of our staff. Shepherded by remarkably durable managers, great characters all, our employees’ unstinting devotion to the cause has been the making of our stores and the bedrock of our success; and as our Toronto shop heads into its penultimate weekend, it is both timely and appropriate to thank them.
Led by the indefatigable David McDerby, who helped design each store from scratch (frequently on the back of envelopes), and ran both the Ogilvy and Westmount branches, our Ottawa and Toronto shops were no less part of the family. Headed by the unflappable Matthew Mitchell, with the feline assistance of Pooh, the Sussex Drive store was always its founder’s favourite; but no less a landmark, with an equally enviable track record, is our Toronto flagship, most ably run by Chris Johnson and Maxeen Paabo.
In between, but common to all, was the irrepressible music manager, Barry Corber, whose daunting knowledge and dry wit remain almost as respected as his marmalade mascot (mascat?), Oscar (q.v.), who presided over the Westmount store from the music department even as a kitten.
Last but not least is the warehouse itself, whose unsung heroes have kept supplies flowing to stores and libraries alike since 1971. The top five of these were with us for no less than 145 years combined – a remarkable record in itself.
The five outlets between them have now steered the good ship Hoare to safe haven. They have done so through seas both rough and smooth; and as the Toronto store enters its final resting place, this is the time to thank them properly. They have not only been indispensable as a team, but a rich source of memories and a joy to work with.
From the Hoare house to your house, hats off in all directions. You will be sorely missed and never forgotten.