The Flying Pig Bookstore opened in 1996 in a tiny square building that had once been the old post office in Charlotte, Vermont (population 3,500). In 2006, when our "towers of knowledge" (aka stacks of books on the floor) made it clear that we'd outgrown our building, we moved to Shelburne Village (population 5,000) into a space almost twice as big. Over the years, we've had an incredible bookselling staff, amazing visiting authors, and lots of creative, fun events. We've been honored with the Lucille Micheels Pannell Award for Best Children's Bookstore in the country (2008), a handselling award from Candlewick Press, two "best of" awards from Yankee Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal chose us as one of seven bookstores around the country that help serve as anchors for their wonderful towns. We feel so lucky to be part of our vibrant reading community and to play a small part in the lives of our many customers.
WHY THE NAME?
Originally planned as a children's bookstore, co-founders Elizabeth Bluemle and Josie Leavitt wanted a name that was welcoming, with child appeal and whimsy. Elizabeth had always loved the name of Pennywhistle Toys in New York City, and wanted to find something equally inviting. On a drive one day, the name "Flying Pig" popped into her head, and it immediately fit. The symbol of impossible dreams come true, the flying pig is the perfect representative for a little independent bookstore flapping into the challenging headwinds of commerce and somehow staying aloft.
FLYING PIG STAFF MEMBERS
Elizabeth: Elizabeth's parents said she learned to read at age 3, too impatient to wait for someone to read to her. She's been reading and loving books ever since. All of her jobs have involved books, writing, and/or kids. She's been assistant to a writer-producer in L.A, editorial director for a tiny publishing company in San Francisco, creative director at a book packaging company in New York, and production manager for an adult literacy publisher in New York City. She earned her master's degree in Education from Bank Street College and shifted into teaching. When she moved to Vermont in 1996, she planned to continue teaching, but then a "For Lease" sign appeared on this little building in our small town, and she just had a feeling that we should rent it and -- open a bookstore with her best friend, Josie Leavitt. She and Josie went from idea to execution in just ten weeks, with 6,500 books and a lot of optimism. Now, so many years later, the Flying Pig has more than 30,000 books in the store, and is still optimistic. Elizabeth is also a picture book author, with four titles published by Candlewick Press: My Father the Dog and How Do You Wokka-Wokka? (both illustrated by Randy Cecil), Dogs on the Bed (illustrated by Anne Wildsorf), and Tap Tap Boom Boom (illustrated by G. Brian Karas).
Sandy: As an only child living in the country, books became my friends and playmates. I remember hours tucked into our overstuffed chair, pouring over my Dick, Jane and Sally books. As I got older, the local public library became my daycare center. I could lose myself for hours exploring rows and rows of books. I quickly learned my tastes covered a broad range. Not only did I enjoy children's book, especially mysteries, I also delighted in learning about animals, the human body, ( I knew I wanted to be a nurse), history and inspiring true stories. Those diverse interests continue today. When my children came along, I was excited to share my growing collection of picture books with them. My fondest memories have to be, every evening at bedtime, when I read books with my children. We were lucky enough to continue the tradition till they reached high school and were buried in homework. Books of all genres continue to be one of my greatest pleasures. Helping others find just the right book is a truly joyful experience.
Laura: Originally from Underhill, Vermont, Laura has been interested in words and stories from a very young age. She went to Middlebury College and graduated in 2013 with a degree in English and American Literature with a focus in creative writing. She is particularly interested in short stories that put you in a mood, novels with unreliable narrators, cookbooks, books on food systems, picture books with emotive artwork, and collections of poetry. When she is not at the store, you can find Laura performing lyric-centric songs in the folk duo Cricket Blue or sauteing onions in a little pan with butter.
Emily: Emily lives in Burlington with her husband, her labradoodle, and her two small children. She teaches writing at St. Michael's College and has been a book editor since 2006. She reports that her bedside table "to-read" pile has been happily hijacked by picture books since the arrival of her son almost four years ago, but that she is excited to get back to the land of adult fiction soon.
David: David loves to read many different genres of books. Although fantasy is his favorite genre he also really appreciates books that make him laugh. He enjoys biographies, especially ones about music. He plays the saxophone, so that means anything having to do with jazz or funk is a must-read for him. Currently he attends the Berklee College of Music, and works at the Flying Pig over holidays. He loves to ski and Vermont is one of the best places to do that. Being a bookseller has taught him a lot: learning how to treat customers well and how to get tasks accomplished in a timely and complete manner. The bookstore is a great place for learning how to deal with real-world situations.
Emeritus Bookseller and Flying Pig Co-Founder Josie: Josie Leavitt co-founded the Flying Pig Bookstore with Elizabeth in 1996, and left the store after 20 years to return to her roots in the nonprofit world (the *other* nonprofit world, ha). She is now Development Director at The Pride Center of Vermont. Josie can be found on stages throughout New England performing stand-up comedy. She can also be found doing the occasional volunteer shift at the Flying Pig, especially during the holidays.