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With owner suffering sudden vision loss, Old Town Books goes on hiatus

Fully stocked bookshelf (image via Old Town Books/Facebook)

Editor’s note: Kirkpatrick said the store remained open when the article was published and the store was only closed for 36 hours. ALXnow apologizes for the error.

Ally Kirkpatrick, owner of the beloved local book shop Old Town Books (130 S. Royal Street), is contending with sudden vision loss.

Kirkpatrick opened up about her struggles with vision loss and a near-death experience during a recent pregnancy. She said she may have experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or other issues surrounding delivering a baby six months ago.

Kirkpatrick said everyone who works at the shop will continue to keep their job and the store reopened.

“I’m working with a new store manager and two consultants who are helping me figure out how to adapt to being a blind small business owner,” Kirkpatrick said. “The transition is super hard! I’m crying at work a lot. Many of our booksellers are spooked. I get it it’s weird! I don’t think there’s an ideal way to go blind, but the way I have gone blind has involved a lot of interpersonal conflict.”

As a local bookshop owner, Kirkpatrick has kept a finger on the pulse of what the town is reading and the bookshop has developed a devoted local following.

The full message from Kirkpatrick is posted below:

Hello bookstore friends! I am experiencing sudden vision loss. I suddenly have a very small field of vision. It’s been over a matter of weeks as a result of what might be a TBI. Not sure. I had severe preeclampsia and had a near death experience delivering my last baby. I’m going to close the bookstore indefinitely effective immediately so I can focus on my health and my three little girls, Fiona (6), Mabel (2.5), and Audrey (6 months.) But I’ll be back better and blinder than ever in a little while. And everyone who works here and has decided to keep working here has their job and will be paid during this mini sabbatical. I’m working with a new store manager and two consultants who are helping me figure out how to adapt to being a blind small business owner. The transition is super hard! I’m crying at work a lot. Many of our booksellers are spooked. I get it it’s weird! I don’t think there’s an ideal way to go blind, but the way I have gone blind has involved a lot of interpersonal conflict. I am so grateful for the smart and beautiful women who helped me grow this store! I am *especially* grateful to Rachel and Jackie, Su and Nicole. You are seeing me, holding me, helping me find my vision for the future of Old Town Books.

Photo via Old Town Books/Facebook

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