Business

After Renovations, Farley’s Bookshop Thrives On Main Street

The business has been a mainstay in New Hope for years.

The sign outside of Farley’s Bookshop.
Credit: David Hunt/NewHopeFreePress.com

Earlier this year, the beloved Main Street bookshop in New Hope Borough was temporarily closed for four months to undergo renovations.

Since opening back up, the renovations to Farley’s Bookshop have been met with positive reviews and will certainly receive more as the borough is in the holiday season.

“From our perspective, it’s been pretty amazing,” Buffy Hasting, longtime Farley’s Bookshop employee, said. “To see everybody coming back and discovering the place in a-new has been amazing. We feel like the reception has been really nice. It just reminds us why we wanted to keep the store here, you know.” 

Conducted by Modern Recycled Spaces, the quaint bookshop was in need of a little TLC. The original structure dates back to 1804 and the extensive work was performed on the building.

From structural repairs to new walls and floors, the renovations covered everything to allow the bookshop to thrive in the borough.

Credit: David Hunt/NewHopeFreePress.com

Due to the renovations, the layout of the store has shifted. The renovations led to the store being completely gutted, opening up more space for patrons. With this free space, the contractors created a new room filled with bookshelves and a spectacular view of the Delaware River. 

The renovations will come in clutch as we enter the borough’s busy season: the holidays.

New Hope Borough, the City of Lamvertville, and Peddler’s Village have been seeing an influx of tourists looking to shop and enjoy the town’s festive atmosphere during the holiday season.

Hastings said the borough gets really busy around Halloween and doesn’t slow down until January. The winter months are fruitful for not only Farley’s Bookshop, but the artists they support, as well. 

Credit: David Hunt/NewHopeFreePress.com

A bookstore for the community, Farley’s Bookshop is teeming with local artist’s work. These include Robin Tomlinson’s prints, Steve Wolock’s pottery, Joy Cole’s art, and artwork by Sam A. of Beelzeboots Art.

All of the local artwork is for sale. 

Even the bookstore’s section signs are hand painted by local artist Sean Mount.

“We feel lucky to have this space and to be able to give the space to talented artists who are our friends. They are just making the place more beautiful for us. It’s selfish in a way, but we’ll take it, you know,” Hastings said. 

Farley’s Bookshop also helps local authors promote their book with book signings and poetry readings.

Farley’s Bookshop hosted U.S. Secret Service agent and author Leth Oun for a book signing event for his memoir “A Refugee’s American Dream: From the Killing Fields of Cambodia to the U.S. Secret Service.” 

Jim Popkin also held a book signing event for his new book titled “Code Name Blue Wren: The True Story of America’s Most Dangerous Female Spy–and the Sister She Betrayed.” 

And the book-filled events don’t stop there.

“We’ve got tons of events coming up. We’ve got stuff pretty much every weekend from Thanksgiving to the spring,” Hastings said. “There’s a lot happening here beyond just selling books–it’s a constant flow of fun.” 

During the four months of renovations, Farley’s Bookshop managed to stay in business by borrowing a horse trailer from a farm Hastings used to work at in Stockton, New Jersey. He rigged up bookcases in the trailer and parked it in front of Manoff Market Gardens and Cidery in Solebury Township. 

When asked whether the trailer would make a comeback this winter, Hastings left everything on the table.

Credit: David Hunt/NewHopeFreePress.com

“That’s a good question. I’m the only one with the truck. So, yeah, if we can figure out a way to do it, we will,” Hastings said. 

Hasting’s favorite part about owning a bookshop is simple. 

“Just seeing other people love the books as much as we do, you know, to get excited to come in here and buy books and talk about books with us. It’s incredible,” he said. 

Founded by Jim and Nancy Farley in 1967, Farley’s Bookshop bought the New Delaware Bookshop from Laura Bruckman and turned it into their family business. With a little help from novelist James A. Michener and Fred Rogers (yes, the Fred Rogers from Mr. Rogers), they were able to make the purchase possible.

In 1971, they moved from Ferry Street to their current location on Main Street. When Jim passed away in 2011 and Nancy in 2013, the business was run by the Farley’s until they sold the store to longtime employees Buffy and Katie Hastings and Charlie Balfour.

About the author

David Hunt

David J. Hunt is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. A proud alumni of Temple University, he started out at his college's newspaper and never looked back. When he isn't writing, he enjoys reading, traveling and working out. You can find more of his work in Yardbarker, FanSided and the Chestnut Hill Local. You can follow him on Twitter at @dave_hunt44.

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