Several hundred people waited with bated breath inside a Fort Street building for something remarkable on Thursday evening.
One of Victoria’s most prominent and popular bookstores, Russell Books, celebrated their relocation across the street to a new building by breaking a Guinness World Record on November 14th.
With an official adjudicator on hand along with a videographer, two engineers, and a contractor, the family who owns the business set to work at 1 p.m. on Thursday building the world’s tallest stack of Guinness World Record books.
The whole process ended just after 6 p.m., as co-owner Andrea Minter’s brothers, Chad and Brandon Depol, and her husband Jordan Minter placed the final touches on the six metres (or 19 feet eight inches) high stack of Guinness World Record books.
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The crowd held its breath as the precarious tower took shape, but erupted in cheers and claps once it became clear that Russell Books had officially set a new world record.
Minter tells Victoria Buzz that the event, while nerve-wracking, was “fantastic”, and she couldn’t have asked for it to be much better.
The aftermath featured a big celebration with the judge, family members, some staff, and of course, champagne.
“I think it’s just gonna be one of those memories that we’re gonna stick in our hats and remember for a long time. It was a really fun evening. When I looked up and saw people looking down at us and smiling, it just felt like a warm hug,” says Minter.
The stack of books was, for the most part, dismantled almost immediately as it would have posed a hazard for anyone wanting to visit the lower level of the store. But Minter says they’ve left a shorter, five foot tall tower still standing for anyone who might want to see it.
For now, Russell Books’ new 747 Fort Street location will be operating in conjunction with their old storefront just across the street, and Minter expects the move to be completed by the end of November 2019.
This transition is a massive expansion for the business, as the new store is 18,000 sq. ft. in size – that’s 6,000 sq. ft more space than their current location.
It also provides improved accessibility, as the building comes equipped with an elevator, an escalator, a loading bay in the back for when shipments come in, and a single storefront entrance rather than the three that the old Russell Books had.
Minter says customers can also look forward to a larger inventory and bigger sections, as the store now has larger capacity.
Russell Books first opened in downtown Victoria in 1991 when founder Reg Russell expanded his Montreal operation and brought it to the city.
Today, it is the single largest independent bookstore operator in downtown Victoria and offers a massive variety of literature, covering every inch of the store from floor to ceiling.