By Hunter Hine, Staff Writer
(April 6, 2023) Caprichos Books, a new bookstore on Manklin Creek Road in Ocean Pines, held its grand opening on March 25.
Owner Elizabeth Decker also wrapped Caprichos’ birthday party into the occasion since the business has been in operation for five years.
A potato-themed book party celebrating “Lord of The Rings” day followed the store’s joint birthday and anniversary.
The triple-layered event drew many new faces to Caprichos, with the potato party alone attracting around 30 guests who brought mashed potatoes, poutine, baked potatoes, chips, tots, sweet potato fries and more, Decker said.
“We were supposed to do our grand opening party a few weeks ago, but I really wasn’t quite ready, so I pushed it back a little bit, and I just figured we’d overlap those events,” Decker said.
Caprichos’ brick and mortar location started partially opening in late January, with Decker moving in and filling bookcases while simultaneously seeing customers.
“I’ve had a customer every day that I’ve been here working, so why not have the door open? They all get the sneak peek of what it’s becoming and they watched me grow,” Decker said.
Decker described Caprichos as a general bookstore. It carries genres ranging from baby books to adult fiction, cookbooks to romance, nonfiction to graphic novels, and a variety of audio books.
Caprichos sells CD audiobooks in-store, but customers can also buy and listen to Caprichos’ audio selection online through Libro.fm, a website that offers audiobooks from local bookstores, according to its website.
While Caprichos began as a used book store, Decker added new books based on demand. Decker still takes book donations.
“I only do donations. I do not do trade credit, and that’s mostly because I’m able to travel to people’s homes to pick up the books for them, so that’s my service,” Decker said. “It’s something they want to get rid of and I’m going to do the work, the labor, to remove it.”
Besides books, Caprichos sells bookmarks, book lights, scarves, pieces from a local pottery studio and even art and jewelry made from recycled materials.
The back of the store has a few rows of tables that Decker uses for community-based and book-focused events like book clubs, family game nights and its recurring Work in Progress Wednesdays, where people are invited to bring in any crafts they are working on to collaborate with other craftspeople and hobbyists.
“I really hope customers see this as a place to start discussions, open discussions, that they feel accepted and that they understand that there are other points of view and that it’s a safe space in general,” Decker said.
Next to the checkout counter, Decker is also setting up a book nook where customers can give a book a test run or quietly listen to an audio story.
“Capricho” is a Spanish word that translates to “whimsy” or “fun.” Decker named the store after the Island of Caprichos from the book “Figgs & Phantoms” by Ellen Raskin.
In the story, the island represents heaven, Decker said.
Decker started in the book business doing pop-up events. In 2018, she opened Caprichos in Bel Air, Maryland, but during covid, Decker started delivering books.
She and her family then closed up the shop, packed its contents into a garage, and decided to move to the beach.
In this interim period, Decker returned to the pop-up shop model, showing up at events like Salisbury Pride and the 2022 Home, Condo and Outdoor Show in Ocean City.
Last year, Caprichos partnered with the Delmarva Shorebirds minor league baseball team for a summer reading program.
“It was mostly just when they did library visits with a mascot, so they would bring him to a library and they would do a story reading and I would be there to just talk about it,” Decker said.
Decker also invested in a book-mobile, which had more problems than expected. It’s been in the repair shop now for two years, but Decker hopes to use it in the future.
Decker’s friend owned Pip’s Kitten Emporium, a store that sold books, cat toys and cat accessories, in the spot where Caprichos is now located.
When the owner closed and moved out of the country, the space was offered to Decker. Although Decker hadn’t considered another brick and mortar store, it seemed like a great opportunity, she said.
“We knew that there was a bookstore already in Berlin, and there was one already in Ocean City,” Decker said. “We really liked the year-round aspect and the incredibly diverse range of people in Ocean Pines. It’s also very accessible because we’re right at South Gate.”
Before the Emporium closed, Decker moved a Caprichos pop-up into the store so she could get to know local customers. During that time, she developed a regular clientele.
“It’s definitely been a very, very enthusiastic reception,” Decker said. “I’ve had so many people who were so excited to see us here who come in and ask questions.”
Moving forward, Decker has more plans to welcome the community to special events.
On April 29, Caprichos is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Independent Bookstore Day, where Decker will offer exclusive merchandise like author-signed books and pins.
Decker said that her favorite part of operating a bookstore is the sense of community.
“I definitely feel like there’s a lot of hope … I’m ridiculously positive, so I struggle, because I always feel like in everything there is an opportunity,” Decker said.
The store is currently open Thursdays from 12-5 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information, visit www.caprichosbooks.com, call 410-929-6081 or email email@example.com.