Poppies Bookstore feels more like your own personal library.
There is minimal clutter, cosy couches and every book is beautifully handpicked by the owner himself.
It’s how bookstores used to be – simple, spacious and full of surprises.
The books are deliberately not organised alphabetically giving you that feeling of serendipity when you find the perfect book to read on a warm Sunday afternoon.
“Books can transport people to a different place, a different time and I wanted my bookstore to give people that same feeling of stepping into a completely different world,” says owner Tony Moores.
The vibe is relaxed and friendly with staff members taking the time to have a chat and get to know you.
It’s about booklovers helping booklovers, Tony says.
The Howick local says it’s his mission to create a space where people can come to get quality advice from others who are passionate about books.
“We put a lot of time into getting to know you or the person you are buying for and helping you find the perfect read.”
Every item in the store is there for a reason.
Each card is selected design by design, and books are chosen for their lasting value.
“I call these the keepers, the books that people are going to want to revisit and share for a lifetime.”
But it’s not all about filling the store with books and trinkets that simply look beautiful.
“I also have to keep up with what our customers are asking for,” he says.
And he says while they try their best to find you what you’re looking for, they won’t send you home with something that doesn’t perfectly serve your interests.
A key service is sourcing specific books for customers, including second hand books which might be out of print.
“We want to know that we have done everything we can to pair the right book with the right person.”
But you’d be hard-pressed to walk into Poppies and not find something wonderful to take home.
And if you are looking for advice, there’s certainly no better person to talk to than Tony.
He reads a couple books a week, and if he hasn’t read a particular book you can trust he’s read dozens of reviews to give you an honest recommendation.
He has worked in the book trade all his life, having fallen in love with literature at a young age.
However, it wasn’t until Tony found himself wondering what his next step would be that he considered owning his own book shop.
“I found myself in a position where I had to rethink what I was going to do next. I was 60 years old and my role at HarperCollins Publishers had been dis-established,” he says.
“Then I discovered that the Poppies business was for sale.”
“Until recently Poppies was based in Remuera, where it had been for more than 30 years, but we learned the building was due for remodelling and decided to start looking for a new home.”
When he spotted Readaway Books on Picton Street was closing down, he had a brilliant idea and raced in to talk with long-time industry colleague Barbara Rosie (owner of Readaway Books).
“I thought how perfect it would be to move into the space and stop the people of Howick from losing their favourite spot to buy books.”
And so did Barbara.
“Serendipity,” he smiles.
You’ll find Tony and his team of booklovers at 83 Picton Street, Howick.
Poppies is open every weekday from 9am-5.30pm and on Saturdays from 8.30am-4.00pm.