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Downtown Syracuse will finally have its first independent bookstore in 30 years.

Parthenon Books will have its grand opening on Saturday, June 25 at 10 a.m. Located right across the street from the Landmark Theatre. Room at 335-337 S. Salina St. it was previously occupied by Rainbow Kids, a children’s clothing store, until it closed during the pandemic.

Selena Giampa will manage Parthenon Books. He worked in office management for the last 10 years. Previously, he worked at Borders at the former Carousel Center (now Destiny USA), Books & Melodies on James Street and the Onondaga County Public Library.

Giampa is feeling excited to help restore energy and momentum to the downtown corridors of Syracuse.

“Bookstores are places that can really bring communities together, especially independent bookstores,” says Giampa. “Every other city has a nice main road, doesn’t it? They have taken their old buildings and revitalized them… I wanted to bring Main Street back to Syracuse and the bookstore was a big part of that.”

The last bookstore chain downtown, Waldenbooks, operates at 339 S. Salina St. until it closed in 1996. The last local bookstore downtown, Economy Books, closed in 1992.

“We are book lovers,” said Charlie Murphy, assistant manager of Parthenon Books, who previously worked at Barnes & Nobleman. “We always wondered, ‘Why aren’t there local independent bookstores downtown?’ We are a big city. For us to unite all our knowledge to create the ultimate bookstore? This is very interesting for all of us.”

Selena Giampa (left) is the new manager of Parthenon Books in downtown Syracuse. Steve Case (right) is owner of the Acropolis Realty Group and co-owns Parthenon Books with Ryan Benz. (Katrina Tulloch | ktulloch@syracuse.com)

The bookstore has more than 10,000 merchandise for sale, including titles by Central New York authors, and cards and art prints by local artists.

Parthenon teamed up with SkyTop Coffee to offer espresso-based coffee and drinks. They will also serve pastries from the Westcott Cookie Company and other baked goods from the Sugar Top Bake Shoppe in Liverpool.

“A big part of what we do is revitalize the city center,” said Acropolis Realty Group owner Steve Case, who co-owns Parthenon Books with Ryan Benz. “A bookstore may or may not make money. But at the end of the day, we add value to the building and the surroundings. We are very optimistic in the city center. We think the momentum will continue.”

The bookstore opening came months later than expected. It was slated to open April 1, but national supply chain problems and labor shortages brought the opening date to a few months.

“It’s a really hard time building anything right now,” Case told syracuse.com. “It was a challenge to receive orders on time. Everything from bookshelves to floors to tiles. There must have been some unexpected things, but I think we did a pretty good job of getting through them. ”

Books are available for purchase at the new Parthenon Books in downtown Syracuse. (Katrina Tulloch | ktulloch@syracuse.com)

A large mural by Syracuse artist Jacqueline Colello adorns the bookstore’s entrance, inspired by Greek and Roman mythology. (Colello has painted several murals for local businesses, including Eva’s European Candy, Cucina Francesca, and Evan Michaels Salon.)

The Parthenon also features a smaller abstract mural in the children’s section by artist Jaime Fedele.

The bookstore’s first event will be a book signing on Saturday by author Linda Lowen (who is also a contributing author for syracuse.com) for her guide “100 Things To Do in Syracuse Before You Die.”

U.S. bookstore sales have rebounded in 2021 and 2022. During the first four months of 2022, bookstore sales increased 19.4% over the comparable period in 2021, according to Publishers Weekly.

Katrina Tulloch shoots and writes life + culture stories for Syracuse.com and The Post-Standard. Contact him: Email | Twitter | Facebook | 518-810-5022

Business reporter Rick Moriarty contributed to this report.

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Books are available for purchase at the new Parthenon Books in downtown Syracuse. (Katrina Tulloch | ktulloch@syracuse.com)

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