SEARSPORT—A new, independent bookshop has opened in Searsport to the delight of Midcoast book lovers. The grand opening of Anodyne at 33 East Main Street, took place April 8.
Owner Elly Burnett, a former attorney, saw the bookstore as a way to shift toward the meaningful and personal, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic.
She estimated that more than 100 people came through the shop for the opening.
“It was just phenomenal,” she said. “We had people from the Midcoast and as far away as Orono drive here to check it out. The feedback we got was so welcoming. People told us they were appreciative to have our bookshop here. I was completely blown away by the reception, honestly.”
Anodyne is a noun that means “something that soothes, calms, or comforts.”
“I stopped practicing law during the pandemic when my kids were sent home from school and I decided I didn’t want to go back to practicing law,” said Burnett. “It was a classic reprioritization of life. There were a lot of hours to fill with four children and so we all started reading again. Books have always had that effect on me. Anodyne, the word, represented all of that to me and I hope we can bring that sense of comfort to this community.”
Burnett always had the inkling that running a bookstore would be an ideal career. With so many great bookstores in Belfast, where she lives, she set her sights on a less populated area. She now has her chance with the store, which offers new and used titles, a lot of new fiction, Maine titles, and books on social sciences, history, current affairs, politics, the natural world, essays, memoirs, and local interests.
Anodyne is also family-friendly with a children’s section for every reading level, from picture and board books to graphic novels.
“The sales over the weekend seem to indicate there’s a market for both new and used books; the breakdown was fairly even,” she said.
Many of the new patrons asked if there would be author events and other events in the future and Burnett is trying to find the balance to serve the community’s needs in the tiny space they have.
“Stay tuned for that,” she said.
With Hello Sailor’s taco, art, and booze vibe a few doors down, the Penobscot Marine Museum and Carver Memorial Library just steps away, RasDal Falafel, a Middle Eastern restaurant, Coastal Cafe & Bakery, galleries, and antique stores all within walkable distance, Anodyne is the latest cultural addition to the tiny town known for its shipbuilding history.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org