ROCKPORT — A Rockport resident is the new manager of Toad Hall Bookstore on Main Street.
Joe Rukeyser, a former member of the nonprofit bookstore’s board of directors, took over as manager at the beginning of March. He is a local writer with a background in education, public health, and nonprofit leadership.
“It has always been a dream of mine to work at a small independent bookstore. The reality, though, is far better than any dream I have had. You get to meet and work with such terrific people, all of whom love books, as I do,” Rukeyser said. “What could be better than that?”
He worked at the bookstore for several months this winter preparing to assume the managerial role.
Rukeyser said he looks forward to the responsibility of managing a “brick and mortar” bookstore at a time when many of them are closing.
“Small bookstores are very close to the heart of the communities they serve. There is no question about the vital role that Toad Hall plays on Cape Ann,” Rukeyser said. “We have the amazing support of both local customers and a large summer population of vacationers and visitors, and we have a dedicated staff with long experience at providing the books our community wants to read.”
Toad Hall is an independent nonprofit bookstore that was founded in 1972. It donates all of its net proceeds to local environmental projects through its parent foundation, the Essex County Ecology Center (ECEC). In the 40 years of its operation, Toad Hall has provided more than $150,000 to support environmental education and monitoring projects on Cape Ann and elsewhere in Essex County.
“We are very excited to have Joe on board as the manager of Toad Hall,” said Robert Buchsbaum, president of the ECEC. “He is enthusiastic about books, knows how to run a business, and is very familiar with the Cape Ann community. It is a perfect fit.”
Toad Hall Bookstore is located at 47 Main St., in the heart of downtown Rockport.