European Regional Development Fund European Regional Development Fund

The Book Vault

Returning to work is one of the last things on the mind of most 73 year olds but dedicated bookworm Ivy Doherty was so devastated by the loss of Barnsley’s last bookshop that she decided to take matters into her own hands.
After penning letters to a number of high street book stores, only for her pleas to fall on deaf ears, Ivy teamed up with her son Keith to launch The Book Vault: the newest addition to Barnsley’s town centre.

Ivy and Keith began making preparations to open their business last spring. Unsure how to transform their vision of bringing books back to Barnsley, the dedicated duo turned to the Launchpad where they took part in a range of workshops to equip them with the essential skills needed to help them write the latest chapter in their careers.

Recognising that financing the business would be crucial, Ivy and Keith also began formulating their ideas, working alongside a dedicated business adviser to produce a business plan, something they knew would be essential to realising their dream.

Working alongside a dedicated Launchpad adviser, the duo were able to secure a Start Up Loan for their business and with finance in place, The Book Vault’s doors opened for the first time last December. The Book Vault is now home to thousands of works ranging from much-loved classics to independently published works by local authors. The Book Vault is also planning to host regular book clubs, launches for local authors, educational workshops and a home to the town’s creative writing talent.

Keith Cowans, Manager, The Book Vault said:
“After waiting many years for a new bookshop to arrive, we realised that the high street chains weren’t going to return to Barnsley’s high street any time soon and so we began exploring the idea of opening our own bookshop. Our vision was to create a place where book lovers can come together to enjoy the latest titles. Although it’s early days for our business, the warm reception we’ve received has been incredible.

“I’ve spent much of my own career working in the arts sector and when my mother told me about her ideas, I felt it would offer a chance to recreate a forgotten part of our town. Bookshops have always been an important resource for any town centre and judging by the positive feedback we’ve received from our customers, my mum wasn’t the only person who missed the chance to browse the latest best sellers.

“Starting a business can be a daunting process and so one of the first calls we made was to the Launchpad programme. We took part in a series of workshops which helped us to understand the very different responsibilities business owners have and used this as a way of shaping our business ideas. Since opening we’ve received a terrific response from Barnsley’s bookworms and we’re looking forward to seeing what 2020 will bring.”

Nicole Harte, Business Advisor, Launchpad Programme said:
“Ivy and Keith spotted a clear opportunity to build a business based around their passion and love of literature. Starting a business can be a life-changing undertaking and they spent a lot of time planning and researching their idea and it’s clear that their hard work is paying off.

“They have succeeded in creating a business which is not only brimming with a wide range of books, but they recognised that the shop could also become focal point where like-minded people could come together and take part in a range of different activities, from reading groups and writers forums to hosting book launches.

“One of the key elements for Keith and Ivy to realise their ambitions was to ensure they had a robust business plan in place, which has not only helped them to develop their idea further, but crucially it enabled them to secure the finance they needed to realise their dreams”

In addition to hosting its official opening event on Friday 31st January, The Book Vault is set to welcome Dan Jarvis MP, who has chosen the shop to showcase his new book “Long Way Home” which is set to be released in March. Details for the event will be available via The Book Vault’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thebookvault07/

Launchpad is the Sheffield City Region’s key business support programme for new business. Financially supported by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by local authorities within the Sheffield City Region and the Prince’s Trust, the programme provides free help and support to budding entrepreneurs in the City Region. Entrepreneurs who access Launchpad are those who are thinking of starting their own business, or have started trading within the last three years. Further information can be found at www.scrlaunchpad.co.uk.

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