Westminster Books owner receives award

    Downtown Fredericton honoured the owner of independent local book store Westminster Books at the organization’s annual general meeting today.

    Janet North won the Mazzuca award at the meeting.

    The award is named after Gus and John Mazzuca, who operated a convenience store downtown until their retirement in 2008.

    Recipients of the award embody the character of the Mazzucas, said Downtown Fredericton general manager Bruce McCormack.

    “For a bookstore that has had all the woes of big box bookstores coming in, online bookstores, they’ve been able to continue to provide good quality service to their customers and show that there is a true value to having a local independent bookstore,” McCormack said.

    North’s brother-in-law opened the independent bookstore in 1975 and when he moved to Ontario, North took it over.

    The store has had a lot of ups and downs, North said. In the 1980s, a Coles book store opened up in King’s Place across the street. It has since closed. The store also took a hit when Chapters opened up in the city.

    “There’s been a lot of changes in the 35 years we’ve been here. You see a lot of changes in malls too. Stores come and go, people retire and that sort of thing,” North said.

    “I like the people, it’s very friendly. We have a lot of regular customers that come in every day. It’s just a nice atmosphere.”

    Westminster Books frequently plays host to authors who come in to read passages from their work or sign books. On May 12, St. Thomas University artist in residence David Adams Richards will launch his new book at the store.