MacIntosh Books and Papers marks six decades
One island business recently had some positive news to share – it hit a milestone anniversary.
In March, MacIntosh Books and Paper on Sanibel celebrated its 60th anniversary. Owner Rebecca Binkowski, who employs two part-time staffers, credited the community for the store’s success.
“I’m incredibly proud to be here so long. I’m proud of what we’ve built together,” she said, noting that she is the fifth person to own and operate the shop. “It’s all about community. It takes a village.”
“And I think it says a lot about our community, what we value and how deep our roots are here,” Binkowski added, explaining that island residents and even visitors have a love for literature.
Originally opened on the east end of the island as MacIntosh Books Seahorse Bookshop by William MacIntosh, the business relocated a few years later to the building that now houses John R. Wood Properties on Periwinkle Way. Over the next several years, it moved a couple of times on Periwinkle.
In 2014, the store relocated to its current location in a plaza off of Palm Ridge Road.
The MacIntoshes, who had no children, passed the bookshop on to their staff.
“It’s always been purchased by employees of the store,” she said.
Binkowski explained that she moved to Sanibel in 1995 and spent many years working for another island bookshop. In 2011, she joined MacIntosh as a manager – and it was for sale at the time. She was approached about buying the business at the time but chose to table the discussion for a few years.
“That gave me the chance to really know about the business,” Binkowski said.
In 2017, she revisited the discussion of purchasing it and as of September she was the new owner. She explained that her first season was marked by Hurricane Irma and her second by the red tide crisis.
“And now we have a pandemic,” Binkowski said.
Asked about what makes MacIntosh unique, she first pointed to her employees.
“We have a very well read staff,” Binkowski said.
“And we don’t have every book, but we have the best books,” she noted, explaining that the selections are reflective of the islands. “Our store is highly curated. We are really tapped into the community.”
“We have that smaller, friendly, community bookstore vibe,” Binkowski added.
The shop specializes in current bestsellers, historical fiction, mysteries and cookbooks.
“You’re going to find kid’s books, you’re going to find travel books, you’re going to find health books,” she said. “And then, of course, you’re going to find local authors.”
MacIntosh also sells stationary, greeting cards, writing journals and more.
“Anything that’s bookish,” Binkowski said. “Anything that’s going to help you read or write.”
There are also games, puzzles, drinking mugs and such.
Community involvement and engagement is another aspect of the bookstore’s legacy. Prior to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, it hosted four monthly book clubs – which it is looking at possibly using Zoom to get going again. It also partners with the library and organizations for author talks.
Each December, the shop works with an island church on a book drive for its preschool.
“So they have the books on their reading list for the upcoming year,” she said.
As for other impacts of COVID-19 to her business, Binkowski explained that the store is open for business daily, just not open to customers following the governor’s recent “stay at home” order.
“You’re going to get the same great service, just over the phone,” she said.
Shipping and on-island delivery are options.
Binkowski noted that she is also working toward having her full inventory online for purchases.
“The goal is to have everything online,” she said, noting that only a portion is listed now.
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On looking ahead, Binkowski explained that there are always bad times and moments of worry.
“At our core we are storytellers, and stories carry on,” she said. “We are more resilient and more connected than we realize, and there’s always inspiration to be found – books connect us.”
For more information, visit www.macintoshbooks.com or call 239-472-1447.
MacIntosh Books and Paper is at 2330 Palm Ridge Road, Sanibel.