The downtown hello hello books is one of five nominees on Publishers Weekly’s shortlist for the 2019 PW Bookstore of the Year Awards. These awards recognize outstanding contributors to the bookselling industry. Lacy Simons, hello hello’s owner, was on hand for the announcement last month at Winter Institute 14 in Albuquerque, N.M.

The PW Bookstore of the Year Award has been given annually for the past 26 years. This year’s winner will be named in late March and will be featured in the pre-BookExpo edition of Publishers Weekly magazine. The awards will be presented at the June BookExpo in New York Citye.

The motto of hello hello books, which opened in August of 2011 in the space behind Rock City Café, is “small but powerful.” Staffed by Simons and her three employees, hello, hello features both new and used books and is now the only bookstore in downtown Rockland.

“We’re inexpressibly proud to be singled out this way, especially because of our small size and relative remoteness,” said Simons.

Those doing business year-round in Maine have challenges that often feel insurmountable, she said especially with the ever-growing  threat of online competitors who provide zero financial contribution to the state.

“We wouldn’t be here, able to enjoy this honor, if it weren’t for the loyalty and love our customers show us by choosing to shop with us, and by supporting our creative growth. This nomination is confirmation, too, that what is special about us is also special about Rockland,” Simons said.

In addition to being a business leader in Maine, Simons is recognized by the American Booksellers Association for her book industry involvement. She serves on the ABA's invitation-only Bookseller Advisory Council and frequently gives talks and moderates panels about bookshops and small business practices.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or