Luke keeps the book alive
LUKE Gooley wants to preserve part of Lismore's heritage and ensure that books that store esoteric knowledge and rationalist thought always have a place in town.
He has just taken over Noah's Arc bookstore, a business that has been in Lismore since 1976.
Like The Bible's story of Noah loading his ark with two of every animal to ensure the survival of the species during a great flood, Luke hopes he can help to ensure the survival of the independent bookshop.
"There are two strategies for bookshops; you either do volume or you focus on a niche," he said.
Mr Gooley said he would increase the number of books addressing issues of the day, but retain the esoteric sections for people wanting to explore different ideas.
The shop was originally opened by Geoff and Robyn Rowe in Keen St, but because of flood issues it moved to Magellan St in 1990.
The previous owners, Lyn and Anton Covre, had it for eight years and were about to close the business when Mr Gooley saw the 'for sale' sign during a visit from Adelaide.
Mr Gooley was born in Casino and went to school in Lismore and had a career as a school teacher and IT professional before getting into the book trade.
"I was visiting relatives when I walked past and thought 'Lismore without Noah's - you can't have that'. It's such an iconic business and building," he said.
So six weeks ago he packed up his life and returned to the Northern Rivers.
Mr Gooley said the other part of the business is a gift shop that stocks a range of "quirky and discerning gifts", as well as CDs and DVDs.
He is also hoping to set up an online shop where people can browse and order.
"I think one of the original manifestations (of the shop) was to be a resource centre for the Northern Rivers region. I'd like to continue that for people."