Mary Lumsden shares this post about the new owner of Almonte’s Mill Street Books

So you may be wondering… who would buy a bookstore in the middle of a pandemic? Ann Shea was raised in Aylmer Qc, then studied Chemical Engineering at Ottawa U. She has lived in Montreal with her husband Dean Jenne since 1989, working in the process automation industry, being active in the West Island community and raising three children – Isaac, Julia and Olivia.

Julia purchased a few books online from Mill Street Books last spring and was very impressed with the service she received. At her urging, Ann dropped by the store in August, while day-tripping in Almonte and she literally fell in love with the store – the friendliness, the book selections, the overall vibe of the store, not to mention the charm of Almonte. She doesn’t know why, but for some reason that we will now call destiny, she felt compelled to start following the store on Facebook, and when she learned it was for sale in early October, she reached out immediately.

“I am at a crossroads in my career and had a strong desire to make changes and live a more meaningful and creative Second Act before retirement. I am a life-long reader and have always felt a kinship with book lovers and small towns. I certainly have a lot to learn about bookselling and being a small business owner, but with the support of Mary and Terry, I am up for the challenge!”

Mary and Terry Lumsden with Canadian icon Stuart McLean at Mill Street Books.

We are so pleased Mill Street Books will carry on under Ann’s care and hope you will be understanding as she learns how to use the (tricky) computer program, discovers your interests and restocks the store with new books.

This month we have been busy with book returns, paperwork, and sorting out cupboards. lt’s been satisfying to put things in order and reminisce about all we’ve enjoyed.

Mary and Terry Lumsden with then-Governor David Johnston and Sharon Johnston at Mill Street Books.

It’s a difficult time to celebrate retirement and renewal, so Ann has agreed that we will plan a party together when we can gather more easily. Terry and I will still be hanging out at the shop and by then, I’ll be used to my new role – providing guidance (when asked), sharing book recommendations and catching up with friends.

In reflecting on the wonderful experience of owning a bookshop – with perks like free books & author encounters, it’s clear that it’s the customers who have made the hard work worthwhile. We never expected to encounter such kindness nor anticipated the wonderful feeling of connection with a community of readers. It has been a privilege to serve you.

We all adore Debbie. She offers a warm welcome, sincere recommendations, and wonderful sense of humour.

Happy Reading,
Mary