The Moravian Bookshop, considered the oldest continuously operating book store in the U.S., announced it would be doing something new: opening a second location.
This September, shoppers in downtown Allentown, Pennsylvania will be able to buy books and gifts at a new 3,800-square-foot Moravian Book Shop location on the first floor of Two City Center, 645 Hamilton St. The book and gift shop will be consistent with its current location in Bethlehem.
City Center Lehigh Valley is a major mixed-use development in downtown Allentown. Over the past several years, the downtown area has seen a revitalization effort that includes a new arena, a new hotel, retail shops, restaurants and office space.
“The Moravian Book Shop is excited to be a part of the revitalization taking place in the City of Allentown and to play a role in its development at a great location in the heart of the downtown,” said Richard “Rick” Santee, president of the Book Shop’s board of directors. While the board of directors of the Book Shop is independent, the Provincial Elders’ Conference of the Moravian Church Northern Province is the Book Shop’s sole shareholder.
“Our roots in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, date back to 1745 and Bethlehem will always be our home.,” continued Rick. “It is part of our Mission Statement that the Moravian Book Shop ‘…work within the Bethlehem community as representatives of the Moravian Church.’ We feel confident that a satellite location in Allentown will not diminish or adversely affect the foot traffic, patronage, sales or our commitment to our Main Street Bethlehem location. Opening a second location in Allentown provides a wonderful opportunity for the Book Shop to expand its presence and reach a new market and customer base, all of which is consistent with our mission and purpose.
“The Moravian Book Shop will be a great addition to downtown Allentown,” said City Center President J.B. Reilly. “We were excited to learn of their desire to grow their brand while keeping their roots firmly in Bethlehem. We embrace that plan with them and look forward to a great relationship.”
The Moravian Book Shop, the oldest, continuously operating book shop in the United States, was founded in 1745 when the Moravian Church appointed Samuel Powell of the Church’s Crown Inn on the south side of the Lehigh River to operate a bookstore. After several locations, the Moravian Book Shop was moved to the Church’s publications building near the Central Moravian Church in 1871. Today, the Moravian Book Shop’s home is this same site on Historic Main Street in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. In addition to a fine selection of books, the store also offers a wide variety of distinctive merchandise. ■
From the June 2015 Moravian Magazine