Michael Deyell might just be our very own queer superhero. When Deyell learnt the news that After Stonewall was for sale he decided to return to Ottawa and invest in the iconic landmark.
For the past decade Deyell has made his home in Prince Edward County where he runs a number of businesses including fad (funktional art and design), Out in the County, Prince Edward County Travel and DM Social Marketing.
His reason to pack up his belongings and move back to Ottawa is simple – he did not want to see the 22 year old business close its doors.
"I find a real community bookstore to be irresistible," writes Deyell in an email to typeQ. "There is something so special in holding a book while cosily being wrapped in a blanket while curled up on the couch with the fireplace on… and let’s not forget that glass or two of wine."
Deyell aims to push the boundaries of a conventional book shop to become an "Art for Everyday Living" experience for the queer community. Shelved alongside real books will be functional art, fine art, artisan chocolates, wines from Prince Edward County and special events including book readings and wine tastings.
Deyall emailed with typeQ about his plans for the store.
typeQ: It is obvious that a bookstore alone can no longer survive in today’s culture. I also know that you have creative plans to revive After Stonewall - can you share with us what they are?
Michael Deyell: The current store that you know as After Stonewall will remain under the same name but close for the first couple of weeks of January 2013 for a makeover. When we reopen you will have a new Art for Everyday Living shopping experience including books, functional art, fine art, chocolate, wine and more.
There will be a library space for the GLBT literature with chairs and a table to allow visitors to take their time selecting the literature, creating a relaxed atmosphere. 20+ Ontario and Quebec artists will be showcased who create functional art including glassware, pottery, stoneware, woodwork and jewellery. All the work is handmade and can be worn or used in your home. Handmade chocolate products will also be part of the newly energized After Stonewall. I will also be showing fine artists from time to time, starting with abstract artist Andrew Stelmack, oil painter Joan Mackay and stone sculptor Dean Munroe. Eventually I would like to renovate the lower space (which has not been used to date) to create a fine art and event space.
I will be working with a number of Prince Edward County wineries doing evening wine tasting events at After Stonewall starting at our January 2013 opening… as well I’m planning on doing wine makers’ dinners with Prince Edward County wineries at one or two of the local Village restaurants. Also, I will open up our space to businesses that are in need of a space for evening events.
An After Stonewall Preferred Client Card will be created in which clients will be invited for private Preferred Client evenings throughout the year, paired of course with wine and chocolate.
I respect other businesses in a community and always try not to duplicate something that another business already has available for the consumer. It is about working together in a community and not against each other. I’ll be cross-promoting with businesses.
You must respect your neighbours. That is one of the reasons I am coming back to Ottawa… to be part of a great Village, a great community and to be part of the Village board in my Social Marketing capabilities.
typeQ: I saw somewhere that David Rimmer is still going to be involved with the bookstore in some capacity. What will he be doing?
MD: David has been the force behind After Stonewall: responsible for its success over the last 22 years. After Stonewall would not be here today if it wasn’t for David Rimmer and all the amazing work he has done over the years. He is someone who will not be forgotten, and someone I would like to keep involved in many aspects of the business such as book clubs, book launches and book events. David has become a dear friend over the time we have known each other and working together I am sure will be quite a fun adventure.
typeQ: And you, how are you feeling about this new venture?
MD: I am invigorated about moving forward with After Stonewall.
I have so much energy and drive and want to express it through what I will be doing over the many years that I will dedicate to After Stonewall.
I will make After Stonewall a fun shopping experience for everyone in Ottawa… a place that when you leave you feel like you have taken away something memorable from your visit.
I hope that everyone will show their support and will enjoy what After Stonewall will become as I believe GLBT literature needs to survive as there are only three GLBT bookstores remaining in Canada!
Changing it up a bit will bring something new to the business and to the Village but still keep the books flowing into the hands of avid readers for another 22 years.
Having family and close friends in Ottawa makes the move back home both welcoming and exciting!
A Facebook page has recently been created for After Stonewall which will be used for information about our products, events and even our grand re-opening in January 2013.
Please join the fun!