Stillwater Books, across from Slater Mill, approved for occupancy

Stillwater Books, across from Slater Mill, approved for occupancy

Steve and Dawn Porter, of Stillwater Books in Glocester, move bookcases into their new store location at the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and Main Street in Pawtucket last Saturday. (Breeze photos by Charles Lawrence)

PAWTUCKET – The dream of opening a book store in downtown Pawtucket has been a long time coming, says Steve Porter, but it’s finally nearing reality.

He and his wife Dawn, both Glocester residents, have been repeatedly frustrated as they’ve watched deadline after deadline for opening pass, including the biggest one of being open for at least some of the Christmas shopping season. Construction on their space at 175 Main St. slowed to a crawl, and the Porters were helpless to make it speed up.

Porter told The Breeze last Saturday that the bookstore had received its official certification of occupancy around 4 p.m. the day before. By 3 p.m. Saturday, the two were loading bookcases into the space, and they plan to start loading books onto the shelves by this weekend. They said the store should be open within another week.

The landlord’s management company indicated in mid-January that the company was working toward a Feb. 1 completion date, meaning the Porters would be open by Valentine’s Day, but that deadline also came and went.

“The bottom line is we are definitely still opening soon. We just don’t know when soon is,” said Porter on Jan. 26. “To say we’re frustrated and disappointed would be a profound understatement. We’re deeply invested in this.”

The Porters knew they were facing challenges when they decided to expand their home-based publishing company Stillwater River Publications and create a physical bookstore in an urban environment, but had no idea how difficult the waiting process would be. There were many days when it appeared there was no work getting done on the 2,000-square-foot space inside the Chester Building, they said.

Stillwater Books is located across Roosevelt Avenue from the Slater Mill and diagonally across from the Apex Department Store, the site of a proposed new baseball stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox.

The Porters, who have published books from numerous Rhode Island authors, plan to offer a large selection of remaindered and off-price books. The average price for a book, when the store does open, will be between $2 and $7.

The Chester Building is also home to landlord Pet Food Experts, the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, and the city’s major Rhode Island Public Transit Authority bus stop.