From Historic Salisbury Foundation to partner in Literary Bookpost
By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — Gwen Matthews has left Historic Salisbury Foundation to become the third partner in the Literary Bookpost, an independent bookstore in downtown Salisbury.
Deal Safrit, who founded the Bookpost in 1998, and Bill Greene, who owns the building, remain as partners.
At age 62, Safrit said he’s ready to cut back to a 40-hour work week, down from his typical 65 or 70 hours. Matthews, who had served as director of real estate for Historic Salisbury since 2008, will work in the store full-time.
“She’s well known in the community and has some good ideas,” Safrit said. “She’s certainly a dynamic person. I may not agree with all of her ideas, but I certainly will give all of them a chance.”
Safrit said the store will remain basically the same, “with our wide inventory and in-depth book knowledge.”
He will continue to arrange a busy schedule of author visits, while Matthews, who has a background in theater, will focus on children’s books and introduce new events like puppet shows and readers’ theater.
“We are looking forward to our next chapter,” Greene said. “We were looking for someone who has a love of downtown Salisbury and a respect for Salisbury’s institutions and our history.”
Matthews’ daughter-in-law, Kimi Matthews, will work part-time for the bookstore with an emphasis on marketing.
“We are looking forward to their energy and ideas,” Greene said.
Safrit’s daughter Daphne Safrit will leave the bookstore to become a stay-at-home mom. Gary Thornburg remains on staff.
Matthews said she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy into a business in downtown Salisbury, something she said she and husband Greg Matthews have wanted to do since moving here from Oregon.
“I will be forever grateful to Historic Salisbury,” she said. “I was a complete unknown to them with no connections here, and they welcomed me and opened the door to this community for me.”
Historic Salisbury has lost another employee, after former Executive Director Cynthia Cole Jenkins left in July. The search continues for Jenkins’ replacement, and Susan Sides, president of Historic Salisbury, said the organization will miss Matthews and plans to fill her position as well.
“We wish Gwen the best of luck,” Sides said. “She is a very dear friend, and this is an exciting new venture for them.”
Rather than a real estate agent, Sides said, Historic Salisbury wants someone with a variety of skills to assist office Manager Mark Bias with rentals, events and projects.
The executive director search committee will meet next week to begin sorting resumes and applications, Sides said.
Running the Literary Bookpost always has been a labor of love for Safrit, who said he’s looking forward to having more free time but acknowledged some nervousness about bringing on a new partner.
“All change comes with a little trepidation,” he said.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.