“Can I come?” I would ask when my Dad announced he was going to ‘Foggy’ Bagshaws to pick up a part for his car. Moving forward half a century, it’s quite a bizarre feeling to be sitting in the High Peak Bookstore (formerly Bagshaws Garage) at Brierlow Bar on the Ashbourne to Buxton Road talking to Louisa who has taken over the running of the High Peak Bookstore from her father, David McPhie.
Louisa comes from a family with a traditional book -shop and music pedigree. Her father has owned and run this genre of shops around the country since the 60’s. On her father’s retirement, former school-teacher Louisa decided to have a change of career and take over the reins at Brierlow Bar.
Louisa is an excellent communicator as we found out chatting away to her whilst devouring a tasty goats cheese pannini and cup of coffee. The coffee shop put their accent on simple meals, with wholesome ingredients, freshly prepared while you wait. The coffee is smooth tasting with a lovely crème from the freshly ground beans, and they also serve Novus award winning teas from around the world which complement their light bites and a variety of cakes many of which are made on the premises.
Since taking over, one of her aims was to expand the café area which she has now accomplished hence the reason for our visit. Sourcing country style rustic furniture from around the country Louisa alongside cafe manager Lisa Hutchinson has created a very ‘easy feel’ place to sit after perusing the extensive, eclectic collection of books many of which beat online book sellers prices easily. As we sat chatting, one couple was doing a crossword, another reading the paper and others just generally engaged in conversation; a true mark of the relaxed and friendly ambiance here.
Keen to promote local artists, each month a wall will be dedicated to showcasing the work of an individual artist, with framed paintings available for sale.
The CD rack is regularly re-stocked by dad, thereby keeping his hand in the business. That’s what dads do I think!
Louisa says “Our prime focus will always be on books though, working with bookstore manager Liz Mycock, and initially with guidance from David, I have now taken on the responsibility for book-buying – ensuring that we maintain our reputation for quality titles on a wide range of specialised subjects, our literature and children’s sections – and non-book sales such as our greeting cards”.
Louisa is keen to engage with the feel of this former garage so will slowly add iconic items to reflect the buildings past. She is brimming over with ideas and enthusiasm so there will always be something new to see when you visit. We really enjoyed our time there and encourage you to call in to see what the new High Peak Book Store and Café now has to offer.