Updated: Bookstore opens in downtown Wilmington

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An opening ceremony was held Friday for the Huxley and Hiro store in the city’s LOMA district on the 400 Block of Market Street. Among the speakers was Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki.

Downtown has been without a bookseller since the 2018 closing of the Ninth Street Book Shop.

The founders conceded that their store won’t be able to fill the void left by Ninth Street completely but hope to add to the growing number of attractions in downtown. The store will be open seven days a week.

Huxley and Hiro has been in the works since 2019, with a 2020 opening delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Owners are Claire van den Broek and Ryan Eanes.

Plans call for the store to become a venue showcasing local artistic, musical, and literary talent. The store is named after the pets of its founders.

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The opening comes as the number of independent booksellers continues to increase. Stores range from pop-ups to locations specializing in LGBT, Black, and Latinx titles.

“There’s something about a bookstore that flies in the face of the idiocy that’s taking place in so many parts of the country these days,” Purzycki stated. “A bookstore symbolizes the stretching and enlarging of the American mind and not the constriction of it as occurs.”

Purzycki went on to thank Claire and Ryan for taking a chance and investing in Wilmington, noting that small business is the “essence of cities.

“Wilmington’s economic success for much of our history was tied to large corporations. What’s changed is that the economic activity in our cty now is of the small entrepreneurs, the risk takers,” Purzycki added.
 
“We are a community-focused, LGBTQ+ and woman-owned general interest bookstore located in the heart of historic downtown Wilmington,” said van den Broek. “As public benefit LLC, we’re committed to placing community before profits. Our mission centers around regular partnerships with and donations to non-profit organizations in the Wilmington area, reinforcing our dedication to making a positive impact.”
 
Huxley & Hiro features a range of books, from general interest to fiction and non-fiction, YA, sci-fi, fantasy, poetry, art and design, children’s literature, and rotating curated displays.
The store is open seven days a week.

(Photo from Ken Grant)

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