MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Words Bookstore in Maplewood recently announced that Merril Speck has joined its staff as floor manager. Speck has more than 15 years experience working in various aspects of retail. He has worked in the book business for the past seven years, beginning as a volunteer and rising to store manager at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in Manhattan.
Like Words Bookstore, Housing Works has pioneered the concept of social enterprise — businesses whose behaviors add social value beyond what private enterprises normally provide. Housing Works runs several entrepreneurial enterprises, most notably a bookstore and cafe, to combat the dual crises of AIDS and homelessness through advocacy and the provision of services. Similarly, Words is organized for the twin social missions of providing vocational opportunities and training for individuals with autism and serving as a literary hub for Maplewood and surrounding communities.
To take his position at Words, Speck and his wife, Brenda, have moved from Brooklyn to Maplewood.
“We fell in love with Maplewood on our very first visit,” Merril Speck said. “It’s a beautiful, friendly town that reminded Brenda and me of the Midwestern cities where we grew up. I’m really looking forward to connecting with the community to find out what they love to read, and, maybe, make a few recommendations!”
“We have been very impressed by Merril’s character, knowledge and ability and are excited to have him assume a leadership role with our bookstore team,” Words owners Ellen and Jonah Zimiles said.