Acclaimed author from Medina buys local bookstore

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 31 March 2021 at 1:55 pm

Julie Berry busy renovating Book Shoppe, will call revamped store, Author’s Note

Photo by Tom Rivers: Julie Berry, a Medina native, returned to her hometown on Nov. 2, 2017 to discuss her children’s book, “The Emperor’s Ostrich.” She is shown reading an excerpt of the book at Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in Medina.

MEDINA – A best-selling author and Medina native is embarking on a new venture. She is opening a book store in her hometown.

Julie Berry has purchased The Book Shoppe on Main Street from Fred and Gloria Fierch and is in the process of reinventing the store as Author’s Note.

While she’s renovating the physical store, Author’s Note is open for business online at

“This is a dream come true for me,” Berry said.

Berry and her family were living in Los Angeles when she learned last year from her sister, who lives in Medina, that the Book Shoppe was for sale.

“With Covid happening, we saw the purchase of the Book Shoppe and moving to Medina as a chance for our youngest to have a more normal life,” Julie said. “We moved back in November.”

“This town taught me to read and write,” she said. “I couldn’t bear to think of Medina without a book store.”

Berry has big plans for the book store, which will be managed by her cousin Erica Caldwell. Caldwell is no stranger to the book business, as she had worked there for Sue Phillips and also worked at the Lift Bridge Books in Brockport and owned Present Tense Books in Batavia.

Berry is in the process of completely renovating the book store and hopes to double the inventory.

“We plan to have a bursting collection of authors, new releases, classics, children’s books, best sellers, new voices and debut authors,” she said. “There will also be a large selection of children’s fiction and non-fiction.”

In this photo from December 2019, Susan Phillips, left, welcomes the new owner of The Book Shoppe, Gloria Fierch. Gloria and her husband Fred Fierch became owners of the store. They operated for about a year before selling it to Julie Berry. Phillips owned the store for 21 years.

Once Covid restrictions are further lifted and it’s safe to do so, Julie plans to offer a lot of new programs, such as cookbook clubs, mystery clubs and fiction clubs. The store will be stocked with puzzles, games stationary, coffee and a lot of new brands.

“I see Author’s Note creating a community for book lovers and connecting readers to their favorite authors,” Berry said. “I think of all books as being an ‘author’s note’ to the world. I hope this community will see this book store as my love note to Medina.”

Online ordering is available at for shipping nationwide or free local delivery. Customers may pay online or in-store. Berry offers free home delivery within the Medina zip code. As they grow, she will extend that service to other communities.

Julie hopes people will help her dream become a reality by buying gift certificates, books and merchandise; following her on social media on Twitter at authorsnoteshop and on Facebook and Instagram at authorsnotebookstore.

Berry, a daughter of John and Shirley Gardner of Medina, graduated in 1991 in the last class from the old Medina High School on Catherine Street. She attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she studied technical communications and met her husband Phil, an actor, writer and producer with a background in entrepreneurship and software engineering.

She and her family were living in Boston, where she worked in technical sales and marketing, when she decided to pursue her love of writing.

“I had always wanted to write and I decided to try writing a humor column for The Metro West Daily News, a suburban Boston newspaper,” she said. “It was really fun and it helped me develop my voice as a writer.”

Favorable comments from readers were very encouraging and fueled her desire to keep writing. She went back to school at Vermont College of the Fine Arts to earn a master of fine arts in creative writing for children and young adults. She received her degree in January 2008 and her first book, a fairy tale fantasy titled The Amaranth Enchantment  was released in March 2009.

The mother of four children, one of whom is a student at Medina High School, Julie has published 25 books since her first one, some under a pen name and some under her real name.

New York Times bestselling author Julie Berry has two new books coming out. Cranky Right Now is a companion book to Happy Right Now, and will be released May 11. The book is illustrated by No. 1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Holly Hatam. Berry hopes to have a launch celebration at Author’s Note, whether in person or virtually. Crime and Carpetbags, a sequel to Berry’s middle grade fantasy adventure Wishes and Wellingtons. It will be released in October from Sourcebooks.

Her books have been published all around the world.  She is a New York Times Bestselling Author and recipient of the American Library Association of Printz Honor for The Passion of Dolssa, a book which was short-listed for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. All the Truth That’s in Me was also short-listed for the Edgar Award and for the Carnegie Medal in the United Kingdom. She has won other awards in Europe and the Silver Inky Award in Australia.

Her latest novel for young adults, Lovely War, is a love story set during World War I. It won the Amelia Walden prize from the National Council of Teachers of English and the Golden Kite award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Berry said she reads as much as she can and she is always learning. Her interests include mythology, history, philosophy and religion, and her books cover a wide range of subjects.