Providence bookstore celebrates 30 years in business after bankruptcy

Kenneth Palmer

Fifteen years back, Rod and Merc Clifton did a thing that possibly no prudent man or woman would advise. They acquired a bankrupt business enterprise they experienced no practical experience functioning. 

Around 2007, Rod came throughout a newspaper report detailing the woes of then-struggling Books on the Square in Providence’s Wayland neighborhood. It was almost two several years into a receivership.

“It just variety of clicked with me,” Rod said. His spouse loves guides, and even with many levels in library science, playwriting and English, their son, Jeffrey, couldn’t obtain first rate perform anyplace. At the shop, he would be used, Merc would be all over guides, and Rod, a now-retired Brown College engineering professor, could handle to make any vital repairs. He has already tinkered with light-weight fixtures and added wheels to the shelves to make them cellular.

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Books on the Square owners Rod and Merc Clifton, at left and right, with store manager Jennifer Kandarian. Rescued by the Cliftons 15 years ago, the Providence store just marked its 30th anniversary.

“I’m a very assured, optimistic sort, and I do not remember me getting incredibly disturbed,” Rod explained. “It appeared to me like several parts went together.”

Rod and Merc squandered no time launching their mission to convert the shop around. Plastering the home windows with sheets of brown paper, they established to do the job. But to all those exterior the opaque panes, it appeared as if the lights had been turned off for good.

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