Bookstore-café keeps art alive in Richmond Hill
Owner bought the shop after two weeks on the job
Covernotes has established itself as the linchpin of the artistic community in Richmond Hill since it was founded by Nancy Dyer in 2009. In December 2016, Monique Mantella bought the used bookstore, coffee house and community art gallery. Mantella tells us about her first year as owner and how the cosy 19thcentury schoolhouse continues to encourage art and literature by hosting events and local artists in Richmond Hill, with a side of coffee and sandwiches.
How did you become the owner of Covernotes?
I was a patron there for a few years and was working across the street. I’ve always worked in the restaurant industry, but I happened to be working at a doctor’s office. I saw that there was a “barista wanted” sign. I got hired on to work as a barista, found out that it was up for sale, and I bought it two weeks after I started working there.
How did you feel taking over such a beloved institution?
I did not have a clue how entrenched into the community that Covernotes was. I found that out very shortly after taking over. Everybody has an opinion on how it should be run, done, organized, whatever. It’s a blessing and a curse; more so a blessing. There are people who have been patrons for a long time who actually helped guide me through the first few months and still do.
How is the arts community in Richmond Hill?
There’s a whole arts community up here that I didn’t even know about until I took over Covernotes. It’s a really tight-knit community, and people are extremely supportive of one another. All the art on our walls are by local artists. There aren’t many places in town to put artwork up, so we rotate the artwork out every month (10268 Yonge St., 905-508-2826).
Covernotes owner Monique Mantella (left)