Look for the green stucco house with a porch near the Mount Washington Whole Foods. The sign alerting you it’s the Ivy Bookshop, one of Baltimore’s best-loved havens for bookworms, is coming.
After shutting down in March for the pandemic, the Ivy is set to open this Saturday at a new location just two blocks away. Customers can place orders for curbside pickup, or reserve 30-minute slots for private browsing times. But already, those windows are booking up quickly, says owner Emma Snyder.
“Within an hour, Saturday was gone.”
Snyder, who became the bookstore’s sole owner last year, told The Baltimore Sun in 2019 that the move puts the beloved bookstore on more secure financial footing. “Sometimes successful bookstores end up closing down because of the vagaries of the commercial real estate market," she said. "When a bookstore owns its own home, it means it’s safe for the long run.”
The choice to move seemed all the wiser given COVID-19, Snyder said. “The fact that we own our property is transformative,” she said. “I feel very fortunate that we made that decision.” The property is owned by Ivy Elysian LLC, and was purchased last August for $470,000, according to online records.
The new spot is the former home of Divine Life Church at 5928 Falls Road, south of its previous home in Lake Falls Village. Snyder had originally planned to shut it down in May, reopening at the new spot in July, but COVID-19 got in the way.
The property includes multiple meditation gardens and 2.5 acres of green space that will eventually be used for special events including art classes and activities for kids. Customers can buy books and read outside or have a picnic. A coffee bar is slated to open later this fall, with help from the store’s sister outpost, Bird in Hand.
It won’t be the opening Snyder had planned when she announced in 2019 the Ivy’s plan to move. She’d envisioned a party and lines of customers. COVID-19 will make it a quieter affair, but one she hopes will be meaningful all the same.
Though it has only moved two blocks, the new spot is now in Baltimore City, not Baltimore County. It’s a change Snyder, who lives in Charles Village, welcomes. “I really love and believe in Baltimore City,” she said. “We are incredibly excited to be city residents and city taxpayers.”