Arts and Entertainment Editor

Toadstool Bookstore owner Willard Williams is preparing to sell the business after almost 50 years. 

Williams opened the first Toadstool Bookstore in Peterborough, New Hampshire in May 1972 alongside his sister and other family investors. Williams was only 20-years old at the time. The business eventually grew, opening up two more stores in Keene and Nashua.

However, after 50 years of owning the three Toadstool Bookstores across New Hampshire, Williams is looking to take a step back. “The stores… have been going very well but after nearly 50 years and looking at turning 70 next year, I feel it’s time to begin thinking about new ownership that can bring new energy and a renewed commitment to making the stores the best they can possibly be,” Williams said in an email interview.

There is no specific timeline for finding a new owner, Williams said. However, through their search for new ownership, Williams and his wife, Holly, hope to find someone with the same dedication to the community that the company has maintained since it started. “Our one concern is to find the appropriate owner or owners who will continue the commitment to local readers that we have strived for all these years,” Williams said.

When looking for ideal owner candidates, Williams said the new owner should be “someone who will treat all our employees well and respectfully, and quickly earn the respect of the readers throughout our area.”

Moving forward, Williams hopes Toadstool Bookstore will uphold its community interest. “I hope that people continue to read and to value the physical book, and that the stores will be around for a long long time to come, providing places where people can come for an enjoyable experience surrounded by fascinating books,” Williams said.

Williams added, “I am proud of the way the local community has responded to the bookstores we have created.”

Caitlin Howard can be contacted at

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