Wānaka’s Next Chapter independent bookstore has achieved another milestone with the recent opening of an extension to its premises to cater for the increasing demand for its diverse range of titles featuring recognised local, national and international writers.
Owners Jenny Ainge and Sally Battson say the high point in 2022 was gaining community recognition as the co-winner of the 2022 Ignite Wānaka Young Enterprise new business award.
Today, after almost three years in business they are in expansion mode.
“This is manifest physically in our new extension and also in our outreach to the wider region through our pop up shops,” says Sally. “In the last six months we have ‘popped’ at the Bannockburn Arts School, Wānaka’s RIPE wine and food festival, Domaine Thomson Wines and the Wānaka Autumn Art School with plans to attend the New Zealand Heritage Roses conference in Cromwell in November.”
She says they love the vibrancy and the special focus of the pop up shops and relish researching and finding relevant titles.
“ The pop ups help raise awareness of our outstanding selection of books and are an attraction at any event with sales often exceeding our expectations.”
“We also have a significant and growing customer base from Arrowtown and Queenstown along with our loyal customers throughout Central Otago and as far afield as Ranfurly while our online store is enticing many new customers particularly people overseas, who purchase from our many titles either for themselves or their New Zealand based families.”
The extension to the existing store means more space to display books such as the latest cookbooks, art, design and photography and contemporary New Zealand books.
“The fit out has been designed to showcase our range of special books which has been difficult previously due to the lack of room,” says Sally. “Children’s books are also catered for in this area and we hope customers will enjoy the comfortable and relaxing browsing space we have created.”
The Next Chapter book clubs are thriving with more and more readers keen to participate and share their love of literature with likeminded people.
Co-owner Sally Battson says the fiction club meets monthly and the non-fiction every two months and are held along with author events, book signings and children’s storytelling in the Cinema Paradiso which is an integral part of the bookstore’s precinct.
“We like to host regular events to appeal to a cross section of the community. People enjoy hearing from authors about their lives and what inspires their work. Children are an important focus of our event calendar and during the July school holidays we will celebrate Hairy Maclary’s 40th anniversary with activities and story times for children. Dame Lynley Dodd wrote the first of the incredibly popular series Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy in 1983 and we know there is still an avid following.”
Current Top Picks – New Zealand books
Mrs Jewell and the Wreck of the General Grant by Cristina Sanders
Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton
The Bookseller at the End of the World by Ruth Shaw
Did I Ever Tell You This? by Sam Neill
Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka
A Runner’s Guide to Rakiura by Jessica Howland Kany
Not Set in Stone by Dave Voss