25-year fairytale for Towpath bookshop in Uppermill

IF YOU need proof that launching your own business can have a fairytale ending, then look no further than Towpath Bookshop.

On May 17, the quaint little shop, tucked away on Uppermill High Street near Saddleworth Museum, is celebrating 25 years of bringing joy to book lovers.

Janet and Martin Byrom in their bookshop

Run by Janet Byrom and her husband Martin, the shop is carefully stacked from floor to ceiling with books of all sizes and varieties, for all ages.

The couple, who live in Greenfield, even met at a book fair, and have dedicated the last two-and-half-decades to sharing their passion with others.

Martin explained: “We met at a book sale in 1984 and we married two years later. So books have played a big part in every step of our lives.

“We used to go to The Waggon with my mum and we’d look across at this shop and say ‘wouldn’t that make a lovely bookshop’. It’s just the right size and in a good location.

“Then one evening there was a talk on at the Museum that we were going to. It was a foggy night and we had been going to go in the car but we decided to walk instead.

“We paused at the shop and saw a little notice in the window saying ‘lease for sale’ so we forgot about the talk and ran home to ring up about it!

“Shops are snapped up quickly here when they come available. We were first in the queue of interested people. We got it – and we’re still here today!”

The shop also stocks a range of cards, maps, books by local authors – such as Chris Maylor’s ‘Discovery Walks’ – and photographs, including Saddleworth Scenes by John Brierley.
There are also paintings by local photographers on the walls for sale, while proceeds from any handknits, which are made by Janet, go to The Donkey Sanctuary.

Janet said: “I used to work at a book shop in Stockport but we always wanted to have our own shop.

“We started from scratch and have added more things over the years. We like to support local writers and photographers as much as we can.”

To celebrate the shop’s anniversary, Janet and Martin – along with their popular mascot Gregory – will be handing out chocolates and vouchers to customers on May 17.

“We want to say thank you to everyone for supporting us,” added Janet.

“We’ve got a lot of loyal customers who used to come in as children and are now bringing in their children!”

Visit Towpath Bookshop at 27 High Street, Uppermill or call 07526 624216.


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