SUDDEN EXIT: Why owners of popular business walked out

THE END: John Mitchell in the midst of packing up ready to move out of Mary Ryan's bookshop.
THE END: John Mitchell in the midst of packing up ready to move out of Mary Ryan's bookshop. Christian Morrow

SHOCKWAVES are reverberating through Byron Shire's literature loving community with the sudden exit of John Mitchell and Karen Martin from Mary Ryan's bookshop on Wednesday morning.

Mr Mitchell said differences over the direction of the shop with the owners of the franchise will see the pair leaving and the shop taken over by the franchise owners.

John and Karen took over the bookshop 6 years ago forging a close relationship with the Byron Writers Festival over the years.

The busy shop was always stacked high with a wide variety of books that made it a favourite with Byron's diverse and passionate reading public.

Founder of the Byron Writers Festival Chris Hanley said he was deeply saddened that John and Karen would no longer be running the bookshop.

"You measure the health and vitality of a community by the quality of its bookshop, and by any measure Byron has been thriving," Mr Hanley said.

"Our town has been blessed in having John and Karen in the Byron Bay shop and partnering with the Writer's Festival.

"Their departure will be a great loss for the community."

John and Karen plan to start an independent bookshop in Lennox Head.

Mary Ryan's have been contacted for a comment.

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