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Koppell awards business honor on book merchant

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Oftentimes neighborhood shops can get overshadowed by large national chains, but sometimes even under intense competition and pressure, strong independent stores can find their niche and thrive for a long time.

Such is the case with Paperbacks Plus, a small but strong independent bookstore that has been operating on Riverdale Avenue for the past 38 years.

“As the owner of the Bronx’s only full-service independent bookstore, Fern Jaffe has been a model for other small business owners and adored by neighborhood book lovers for over close to four decades,” Councilman Oliver Koppell explained.

A Brooklyn colleague on the city council, David Yasky, who is chair of the City Council Small Business Committee, joined Koppell in honoring the longtime owner, Fern Jaffe during a special ceremony at the councilman’s office on Wednesday, August 6.

Jaffe received the City Council’s “Small Business Community Excellence Award” for her strong entrepreneurial performance and outstanding contribution to her community.

“I am honored to be recognized by the New York City Council and my Councilmember, Oliver Koppell, for my service as a bookseller in the Riverdale community,” Jaffe noted.

Starting from small beginnings in 1970, Paperbacks Plus grew to a state of the art bookstore with a computerized inventory that included bestsellers and classics, in addition to innovative toys for toddlers and SAT books for teenagers.

From its inception, owner Jaffe made sure Paperbacks Plus was an integral part of the community where people could attend free book parties and go for advice on choosing literature.

The storeowner’s free children’s book events were well known, as are the store-sponsored community events, where such well-known authors as Robert Caro, who won the Pulitzer Prize with a book on Lyndon Johnson; Toni Morrison, author of Beloved and a Nobel Prize winner; and Frank McCourt, who also won a Pulitzer Prize for Angela’s Ashes have been known to stop by. 

 

It was her commitment in offering the best to those who love to read that earned her an award she is proud of. 

“However, my store would have never been a success without the support of a caring, book loving community,” Jaffe added. “I feel, therefore, that this award belongs not just to me, but to all of us.”

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