Co-Owner, Book & Puppet Company, Easton
Andy Laties and his wife Rebecca Migdal own Book & Puppet Co., an independent, family book and gift store business with three locations in downtown Easton. They weren’t new to the bookstore world before opening their store in Lehigh Valley; Andy had previously opened The Children’s Bookstore in Chicago and managed the Bank Street Book Store in Manhattan, and Rebecca spent time in the city as a performing artist, specializing in screenplay and script writing when they met at the bookstore in New York City.
They were familiar with Easton from visits with friends over the years and enjoyed time spent here. They also dreamed of opening a bookstore of their own, so they made the decision to set up shop on Northampton Street in 2017.
Book & Puppet Co. has since become a gathering place for creative minds of all ages, providing opportunities to collaborate and tell stories with their local community. The community in Easton welcomed them with open arms and it didn’t take long until they expanded their presence with a space in the Easton Public Market, where they sell children’s books focused on culinary themes including cookbooks, farming, and gardening. They just recently opened their third location in the city, adding toys and games to their children’s literature collection.
In October 2019, working with a dozen Easton cultural groups, Book & Puppet Co. spearheaded the brand new Easton Book Festival, which brought 200 authors to meet 5,000 festival attendees. 2020 plans include a children’s book festival in the summer and another full scale book festival in October.
How did you find yourself moving to Lehigh Valley?
Most recently I lived in Hackensack, New Jersey. I commuted to the Upper West Side of Manhattan, to manage Bank Street Bookstore. My wife and I had friends in Easton, and have been visiting them here for years. We decided it was time to open a bookstore of our own, featuring a puppet theater, so that we could work together on a project we both loved, and Easton with its artsy vibe seemed like a great place to try this.
Is there anything in particular you love about living in Easton?
The community is welcoming and supportive and we have rapidly made many friends. Easton is also a beautiful city architecturally simply to be in.
If someone was considering moving here, what advice would you give them?
I would say, do it. We have a high quality of life, low cost of living, and easy access to New York City and Philly. (We visit our kids in NYC regularly.)
What’s your favorite Lehigh Valley place and why is it special to you?
My wife and I love strolling along the Karl Stirner Arts Trail. We live near one end, and our store is near the other end, so it’s a convenient way to fit in a break in a natural setting right in the context of our work-day.
Anything else you want to say about living and doing business in Lehigh Valley?
I love that the brewmaster from Two Rivers Brewing up the street buys books from me, and then I go up the hill and drink his beer. So: I shop locally, my neighbors shop locally at my store–and sometimes I feel like we could just revert to barter! The mutual support feels great.