Nestled in the heart of Suffolk’s smallest town, Clare, is a little bookshop that has had a big impact on the reading community and local businesses.
Monday – Saturday
Other times by chance or appointment
The story of the little bookshop starts with a chance encounter with William Shakespeare. The Shakespeare figure was bought in an antique shop in Clare, where the owner overheard the buyer comment that the figure could take pride of place in a bookshop one day. The antique dealer mentioned that there was a shop coming free in the town and there started an unexpected series of events that led to the opening of Harris & Harris Books.
In August 2011 Kate Harris threw open the doors and the shop was immediately embraced by the local community. From then on, the Staffordshire figure of Shakespeare has watched the excitement, the joy, the sadness and, on occasion, the ridiculous from his pride of place, as the bookshop worked its way deeper into the hearts and minds of the people of Clare and surrounding villages.
An enchanting and perfectly formed local bookshop. Honestly, we thought we had died and gone to book heaven!
2016 saw Harris & Harris Books continue to be at the heart of the community, a place where customers regularly pop in with a coffee, cake or preferably both to share news, talk books, ask advice or sometimes just unload their woes. The shop is a microcosm of life in a rural community and reflects the diverse interests of the people around whilst also challenging them and sometimes surprising them with the innovative stock choices.
One regular commented that “browsing the shelves is like talking a wander through the aisles of Kate’s mind”. But do not think that this is by chance or accident, Kate makes it her business to intimately understand her customers and acts as a personal shopper by spending a minimum of two full days per week purely focussed on research and purchasing books that she knows will engage and thrill them.
The attention to detail doesn’t stop there, whether it is help with choosing, free gift wrapping, home deliveries (of books and, often, groceries when people are unable to get out of the house), posting on to loved ones, a biscuit for the four legged friend….. it all happens with a cheery demeanour that reassures everyone that this is not just a business, but a true way of life that contributes to, and feeds from, the community around.
Fitting the different sections of new and second hand books into 375 square feet over two floors is a challenge, but Harris & Harris Books has always maintained a large selection of books for children and young adults & actively cultivates a culture of being a comfortable place for younger people to visit, read and be inquisitive. The bookshop’s stock is an eclectic mix of new and old books with a large motoring section which carries national and international appeal with visitors coming from as far afield as Australia to stock up on rare and unusual titles.