‘When I read in the pages of The Florentine about the possible closure of BM Bookshop if a buyer could not be found, I contacted the owners' agent and within days we had struck a deal. It all happened quite fast,' says John Werich, 26, the new owner of Florence's oldest English-language bookshop.
When TF published an article on BM Bookshop's imminent closure in early November (see TF 152), former owners Rossana Amoroso and Cosetta Boni didn't think the article would lead to a buyer. ‘The response following the article in TF was amazing. We received lots of calls from people who wanted to know how they could save the shop; some even called from the United States!' said Boni. ‘Thanks to TF we found a buyer, so the bookshop will stay open.'
The new owner is a young Swedish man who has lived in Florence since 2006 and was looking for a way to put down roots in the city: ‘I feel at home here,' says Werich, who took over operations of the store on January 1, 2012. An interior designer, writer and photographer (see www.werich.se), Werich bought the shop with his parents, who own an art gallery and concert hall in Sweden and a villa in Tuscany.
Bought by a family of art lovers, the bookshop will also be used as an art gallery, showing the works of young artists from Sweden, Italy and more. Other changes are planned at the shop. ‘First, I've changed the name slightly, to B&M Books and Fine Art, because I will start holding exhibits of young artists' works. The space will be renovated to do this, becoming a kind of cultural space instead of just a store selling books. We'll be organizing book presentations, art exhibits and other events. We will still keep selling our big, photographic books on art, food, fashion, gardens and interiors, and our rare books. We will also sell rare prints and photography and art.'
The inventory sale is ongoing at the shop until January 27, 2012, when it closes for renovations. The reopening is scheduled for February 21, 2012, when the shop will host a series of photos taken in Sicily by Swedish photographer and film director Ingalill Snitt (www.ingalillsnitt.com).