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Eric Furry and his books

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Eric Furry and his books Image courtesy Pro Libirs Bookstore's Facebook page

Every once in a while I like taking time to honor a business or individual in the Bangor area who exemplifies what it means to be a Yankee. I am forgoing this week's column on food to tell you about a man I have known for a number of years, a man my dad considered one of his closest friends. Eric Furry, owner of Pro Libris Bookstore in Bangor, has been in business since 1980. His is a small business, with books lined up wherever you aren't standing. It's a monotone place, with his cat quietly perched in its own little spot. Sound inviting? Maybe not, but there's something that keeps his clientele coming back year after year.

Example. My sister and I were in a supermarket in Bangor near the meat case. Seeing Eric, I bellowed a greeting. He instantly turned around, smiled and began a warm, friendly conversation with us. If you walk into his bookstore, the same Eric is there, greeting you with a smile, asking how you are and genuinely enjoying your patronage. If you can't find a book, Eric can put his hands on it within seconds among the thousands of books he has in stock, telling you more about the author and other books you may like by that author. All this without using a computer!

My dad tried to satiate his ravenous reading by strolling to Eric's every week, I think mostly for the comfort of being able to chat with someone that not only is knowledgeable about his craft but about the social aspects of his business. Eric, in turn, visited my father at his restaurant many times - again, because of my father's knowledge of his craft and equally personable nature.

With the electronic age infiltrating our youth and every other aspect of businesses, including ebooks, I have the utmost respect for Eric and hope that we all support the local mom and pop businesses such as his. The next time you are looking for that used book no-one carries or you simply want to spend time in a bookstore with an encyclopedic-minded helper at your beck and call, visit Eric. Because he is the epitome of New England character, I proudly consider Eric my friend - and it will take just one visit for you to feel the same way.

James Bailey is a chef in the Bangor area and a Yankee food historian. Send your feedback and comments to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

WEB EDITORS NOTE: Click here to check out Pro Libirs' Bookshop on Facebook

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