by Tashe House

The Clinton Book Shop of Clinton, New Jersey stays true to one of the cornerstone beliefs of independent bookstores; being that community participation, is a vital part of a functioning and healthy business. The Clinton Bookshop is involved in a host of community strengthening efforts, such as creating local shopping venues, forming organizations, and challenging legislature. This independent bookstore illustrates how local businesses strengthen a community.

For those unaccustomed to such institutions, it’s believe such tenacity was housed in this small, red brick building. The main source of its tenacity is history-maker and owner, Harvey Finkel. He has owned the store for the last ten years, although he has been a resident of Hunterdon County more than forty years. His lasting presence in the community is a definite indication as to why he cares so much for its preservation. He not only works in the store, but he also remains present on the floor, which gives the community the opportunity to remain in contact with him on a daily basis. This interaction and presence is very much unlike what you would find at a major bookstore chain.

Finkel is the real deal when it comes to supporting his community. He was involved in forming the first local organization in Hunterdon county: Hunterdon First, that promotes small businesses.

I have testified in front of government committees in Trenton on sales tax fairness and (he has) traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet Congressmen and Senators on sales tax fairness as well, and other issues that affect small businesses.–Harvey Finkel

The book shop’s other community efforts include the involvement of starting the Clinton Farmer’s Market, which is currently in its second full season.

Clinton Book Shop is the main local bookstore for that area. True to the historical feel of Clinton, New Jersey, the bookstore’s edifice is the Old Grandin Library building, which was the first library in town. Finkel notes it is on the national historic register due to the cast iron façade on the front of the building. 

The indie shop’s other community endeavors are charitable donations of books and gift certificates to local charities for fundraising. It also sponsors book clubs, offers gently used books and a membership program. The program provides customers with a buyer’s card and upon repeat purchases; they will be afforded benefits of saving on their purchases, receiving free advance reader books and exclusive sales.

Additionally, the book shop hosts local authors allowing for readers to meet and interact with the people they so often admire. Coming soon, Dawn Alexis Anderson, who penned Healer of Them All She will appear at the bookstore on August 24th from 1:00-3:00pm.

Clinton Book Shop is the quintessential independent bookstore that exemplifies genuine concern for its community. With an owner that truly understands what it means to fight and stand up for your community, Clinton Book Shop really knows what it means to be a community and independently owned bookstore. It’s worth a visit, if for no other reason than to see a piece of history and embrace a place that’s good for the soul.

Images courtesy of Clinton Book Shop and Kruno Knezevic

Tashe House is a recent graduate of North Carolina Central University where she majored in English with a concentration in writing. She is currently a Publishing intern for Author’s Boutique and she is excited about entering into a Masters program next fall.