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A leaking roof and ruined books led to a flood of orders and ‘tidal wave’ of customers for this bookstore

On Halloween night, nature played quite the trick on Jeff Wood, owner of the Whistlestop Bookshop in Carlisle.

Around 7 p.m. on Oct. 31, the region was hammered with a powerful rain storm, which led to a serious leak in the roof. Water poured in directly above several shelves of books, destroying hundreds and causing what Wood estimates as thousands of dollars in damage in inventory, in addition to the repair that would be required to the roof and ceiling.

“I think we got two inches within a half hour, or something like that,” Wood said. “Fortunately, I was here. Unfortunately, the building had reached its limit of tolerance. It allowed, through the punishment of wind and water, for water to find a way.”

Wood, perhaps unsurprisingly, tends to have a way with words. In describing the damage from the evening’s leaking, he referred to the bookstore as “a marriage of a 1838 brick building and a 1795 stone building.” The meeting point of those two styles construction is where the majority of the damage occurred.

“And like any marriage, it needs a little maintenance sometimes,” he added.

With plans to be out of town over the weekend, Wood decided to share the unfortunate news on the Whistlestop Bookshop’s Facebook page, to let their customers know why several shelves were suddenly empty.

The next morning, volunteers were already lining outside, hoping to be of assistance – or at the very least, make a few purchases.

“I know that people can have an emotional connection [to books], because I’ve done this for a long time,” Wood said. “But I didn’t expect that extremely fast reaction on the part of our customers. Literally the next day, there were people

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