Judy Manzo opened BookEnds some 24 years ago with the thought that it would not be just a store for selling books but a community “meeting place.” At a time when independent bookstores struggle to stay open, many succumbing to competition from online booksellers, BookEnds has succeeded in becoming the anchor store in the Center that Judy envisioned, “a welcoming place for people of all ages and places.” From customer-centric service, generous support of local causes, the host of local and national adults’ and children’s books authors’ talks/book signings, and much more, BookEnds continues to make connections to all aspects of community life.

Interview with Judy Manzo

Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you started BookEnds.

In my first life (1969-1974) I was a special education teacher in the Woburn Public Schools. Over the next 18 years or so I was a stay-at-home Mom with three children. I did extensive volunteering in the schools and community including PTAs, Girl Scouts, Religious Ed. Teacher, Special Education Parent Advisory Council, En Ka Society, Town Meeting member, Parent-to-Parent, Cooperative Theater Mom, Trustee Winchester Community Music School, etc.  When our youngest daughter was 10 years (my son in high school and oldest daughter in college) in my mid-forties I was anxious to do something else! After a couple years (1992) I literally “fell into” buying Winchester’s independent bookstore — Book Ends first opened in 1984!

What were some of your biggest challenges you faced in building your business?
What do you think has been your business’ greatest contribution to Winchester?
What do you want the legacy of your business to be for Winchester?
Do you think being a woman has impacted how people view you as a businessperson? If so, how? If not, why not?
Who is one woman who has inspired you?
Any advice to other female entrepreneurs?