By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH -- The consensus is in: with all the tomes in one big home, Vero Beach Book Center is an even better place to find the next great summer read, to visit with famous authors or to discuss books with friends.
This summer, the landmark independent book center in Vero Beach consolidated their main stand-alone adult bookstore to the ground floor of the children's bookstore across the parking lot and moved the children's books upstairs.
Chad Leonard, son of store founders Tom and Linda Leonard, said the move surprisingly took about one month to complete, shorter than the staff was anticipating.
"It fit better than we expected it to. We're still moving things and renovating a bit, but the main part of the move is all done," Mr. Leonard said.
Customers have commented how nice it is to have everything in one space, allowing parents and children to search for books and other products geared for them in a one-stop location, he said.
One of the most difficult things to move was the fixtures and shelving from the ground floor to the second floor. Mr. Leonard and his father had several late nights using a forklift to move the large structures over the railing.
The old main bookstore is currently empty.
"The plan is to lease the other space, but there is nothing concrete yet. People ask me 'what is going in there next,' and I say, 'I don't know, do you want to use it?'" Mr. Leonard said with a smile.
Even though the bookstore has consolidated, there are no plans to cut back on the events scheduled for the children's or the adult departments.
By having the bookshelves on wheels, staff will be able to manipulate the space on the ground floor level to accommodate large groups of people for book signings and author meet 'n greets, said Cynthia Callander, marketing director for the book center.
The fašade of the iconic children's stage was also preserved and moved upstairs to the new children's space, and has an addition that children are sure to love, she said.
The Vero Beach Bookies, a book club, will continue to meet once a month, and two adult authors have scheduled stops in Vero Beach as part of their book tours.
Stephanie Evanovich will be promoting her novel, "Big Girl Panties," a feel-good romantic comedy, on July 18 at 6 p.m. and John Dufresne will be presenting "No Regrets, Coyote" a crime novel set in South Florida, on Aug. 10 at 3 p.m.
For more information about the Vero Beach Book Center, call (772) 569-2050 or visit www.verobeachbookcenter.com.