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New England Mobile Book Fair Announces New Ownership

Tom Lyons, a Brookline resident, will "continue the legacy" at the Book Fair.

One year after the iconic Needham Street Book Store , the announced today it has found someone to "continue the legacy."

According to a press release issued Tuesday morning, Brookline resident Tom Lyons has "realized a dream" and purchased the Book Fair from the Strymish family, who has owned the store since it first opened 54 years ago.

Lyons, a longtime Book Fair patron, has worked in the insurance industry and as an independent management consultant. With his background, Lyons will be able to handle the large retail operation while focusing on the future, the press release said. 

"I want [the Book Fair] to be a cultural center for Newton and the surrounding area. I want it to be even easier to shop and more efficient to operate. And I want to introduce these changes in a way that is gradual and does not change the Book Fair’s inherent charm," Lyons said in the press release."

"Tom impressed each of us with his commitment and passion for the Book Fair, as well as his respect for my family’s legacy," Jon Strymish, one of the owners of the Book Fair, said in the press release. "We wish him success as he guides the Book Fair into the future."

Terms of the sale are not being released.

For more details, a full copy of the press release is below:

Newton, MA, November 22, 2011 – Tom Lyons has been shopping at the New England Mobile Book Fair® for decades.  This week he realized a dream of owning the iconic 54 year old bookstore.  Located on Needham Street in Newton, the Book Fair, as it is known to regulars, has been in the Strymish family for its entire history and was put up for sale in November, 2010.  After a diligent effort to find just the right next owner, Tom has now completed the transaction and is hard at work behind the counter.  In an age of Amazon and e-books, Tom’s faith in the long-term prospects of paper-based books combined with the aura surrounding the Book Fair prompted him to seize this opportunity. 

Tom is an experienced businessman, having spent a successful career in the insurance industry and, more recently, as an independent management consultant.  His mastery of systems and operating procedures is critical to an operation as large as the Book Fair.  His vision and ideas for the future are equally important as the store adapts to the changing book industry. 

“We’ll never lose our focus on what has made the Book Fair great for all these years,” Tom remarked.  “Great customer service, an unbeatable selection and employees who genuinely care about promoting reading and helping our shoppers find what they want are the bedrock of the Book Fair legacy.  And, of course, there are the everyday discounts all customers receive!” 

Tom went on about what he hopes to accomplish at the Book Fair.  “I want it to be a cultural center for Newton and the surrounding area.  I want it to be even easier to shop and more efficient to operate.  And I want to introduce these changes in a way that is gradual and does not change the Book Fair’s inherent charm.” 

“We look forward to the continued support of our community while we get our arms around these opportunities and plan for the future.  The best way the people of Newton and surrounding cities and towns can support us is by coming in during the holiday season and shopping our store.  Local businesses keep their revenue in the local community to everyone’s benefit.  We will be fully-staffed, fully-stocked and open longer holiday hours.” 

“I want to thank the Strymish family for turning over custody of this New England institution to me.   Their faith in my vision and ability to move the Book Fair forward means a great deal.  We anticipate an upcoming event soon to celebrate the Strymishes' legacy at the Book Fair.”

“Tom impressed each of us with his commitment and passion for the Book Fair, as well as his respect for my family’s legacy,” said Jon Strymish, one of the owners of the Book Fair.  “We wish him success as he guides the Book Fair into the future.” 

Terms of the sale are not being released.  The sale was brokered by Ridge Hill Partners, Inc. of Needham, Massachusetts.  

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