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Store History

Roxanne Coady, R.J. Julia FounderBefore RJ Julia ever came to be, Roxanne J. Coady had an illustrious twenty-year career as a partner in a New York City accounting firm. Her husband, Kevin, was an accomplished real estate developer. When Roxanne and Kevin decided to hang their hats exclusively here in Connecticut, she couldn’t wait to get started selling books and so… RJ Julia Booksellers was born.

In the building that had a previous life as Nick's Bar & Grill, Roxanne (with the help of friends and family) wanted to create a welcoming place where books and conversation matter. Prior to 1989, the building stood empty, with soot and grease marring both the exterior and interior of the space. But from its purchase, the store was much more than it appeared. It had character and, with the help of a picture taken back in 1923, the building filled the community with life and spirit once again.

The original team at RJ Julia took great care to create new from old — when the tin ceiling needed to be replaced, there was only one option: to create a new ceiling by replicating the tin tiles of the original manufacturer. Look up at the main registers during your next trip to the store — the green ceiling you see is a reminder of Nick's Bar & Grill and the transformation that took place with hard work, hope, and the belief in possibilities.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

bookshelves inside the store

About RJ Julia Booksellers

Located in the shoreline town of Madison, Connecticut, RJ Julia Booksellers has always been a place of inspiration, information, and excitement.

RJ Julia opened 30 years ago as an independent bookstore whose mission was, and is, to be a place where words matter, where writer meets reader, where the ambiance and selection and merchandising of books creates an atmosphere that is welcoming and presents the opportunity for discovery. Ultimately, we are fiercely committed to putting the right book in the right hand.

We are extremely proud of having won several major awards nationally, statewide and locally, including in part: Publishers Weekly Bookseller of the Year, Lucile Pannell award for bookselling excellence, Connecticut Magazine Best Bookstore, Connecticut Retailers Award for Community Commitment, the Advocate's Best Bookstore and the New Haven Business Small Business Award.

We host over 300 events each year. Authors from all over the country — some even from overseas — visit the store to inspire, educate, and entertain us.

In addition to our events schedule, we pride ourselves on having a knowledgeable staff, opinionated book selections (look for those little white "shelf-talker" tags), and a consuming passion for reading. You can be sure that when you pick up any book at our store, it is one that we have hand-selected with specific reading audiences in mind.

RJ Julia Booksellers continues to evolve with our customers. Here on our website, you can browse our hand-picked recommendations, learn about our upcoming events, purchase your favorite picks, and ask questions or make suggestions — anytime, anywhere.

Why shop at RJ Julia, your local independent bookstore?

  • To support a store that has contributed to the civic and creative life of this community for almost 30 years.
  • To support your community by keeping your shopping dollars local.
  • To ensure that you have the continued opportunity to meet a varied and fascinating array of both new and world-renowned authors.
  • To ensure that you will always have a place to go where you can experience that wonderful sense of discovery that comes with finding a new book, a new author, a new genre, a new enthusiasm, an enlightening conversation or a quiet moment to yourself.