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Barnwood Books' new location has closed

Wonder Books and Video manager says her store purchased Barnwood's inventory

June 01, 2011|By JANET HEIM | janeth@herald-mail.com
  • The old Barnwood Books building on South Potomac Street in Hagerstown. The display windows at Barnwood Books' new location, 13-17 S. Potomac St., are nearly empty.
Herald-Mail file photo

HAGERSTOWN — The display windows at Barnwood Books’ new location — 13-17 S. Potomac St. — are nearly empty. The only item remaining in the window is a 3-foot stuffed snowman.

A sign on the door indicates the store will reopen at 10 o’clock, but the only evidence that the space was once a bookstore are the few books strewn on the floor, along with an assortment of empty boxes. Even the bookshelves have been moved out.

Barnwood Books was once a downtown destination for used and rare books. Purchased by Jack Staley in 1984, the bookstore was  moved to 103 S. Potomac St., across the street from the downtown branch of Washington County Free Library.

Jack’s wife, Eva Delle Staley, worked at the bookstore with him and longtime employee, Judy Eshelman.

Upon Jack’s death in March 2010, Eva Delle Staley took over, but put the store up for sale because it had to be moved to a new location. At 78, Eva said she was too old to move the 70,000 to 80,000 books.

On Nov. 1, 2010, Allen Butts of Greencastle, Pa., took ownership of the store, with plans to move it and his other business, Custom Creations Woodworking, a couple of months later.

The new location was near The Maryland Theatre in the storefront that used to house Hodge Podge.

It was unclear when the new store closed. Butts could not be reached for comment Tuesday or Wednesday.

Bonnie Hamberger, manager of the Wonder Books and Video on Dual Highway in Hagerstown, said Tuesday that Wonder Books had purchased Barnwood’s inventory.

“They’re definitely closed. Our guys were out there all last week moving the inventory,” Hamberger said.

Chuck Roberts, owner of Wonder Books and Video, estimated on Wednesday that they moved about 100,000 books and 200 bookshelves. He said Wonder Books purchased the inventory, but not the business or the name.

Butts “called us and asked if we would make an offer,” Roberts said.

He said Butts wanted to get the inventory moved out by the end of May, so Roberts’ crew worked hard to empty the store and finished on Friday, May 27.

Wonder Book has stores in Hagerstown, Frederick and Gaithersburg and sells books through the Internet.

The phone number listed on the Barnwood Books’ store window has been disconnected, and a message on Butts’ personal phone indicated that he was not taking calls at this time.

Butts had previously said he planned to develop a website to allow for a computer inventory of all the books. The store’s website was inaccessible on Tuesday.

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