Bob, a retired accountant (amongst many other things), bought a small bookshop in Cuba St in 1988. Six months later he purchased a second shop in Cambridge Terrace and changed the name to Arty Bee's Bookshop. This was the start of a family business now run by his daughter, Pippa. What began as a retirement hobby has become an icon in the Wellington book scene - even publishing a couple of books and reaching a peak of 3 kilometres of bookshelves! Bob died peacefully on Thursday, 2 March 2017, at the age of 93. He is still remembered fondly by customers and staff.
Arty Bees Books is a family-run, independent bookstore nestled in the heart of Wellington City, Aotearoa, New Zealand. Started in 1988 by Bob Burch, a 60 year old 'redundant' worker and short time flying instructor during WWII, Arty Bees Books grew, split then morphed into the city's largest retailer of pre-loved, new and rare books. On its shelves sit over 90,000 titles ranging from the obvious to the outright bizarre with a specialized interest in the areas of Science Fiction and Fantasy, New Zealand Fiction and Non-Fiction, and the Rare and Antiquarian. "As a business whose core purpose is to recycle pre-loved items, we know that we are not just filling up the world with more consumer junk. Books have a life of their own that we think transcends the clutter of the modern lifestyle." Now Arty Bees Books, in its latest incarnation, offers an ever-increasing lot of its books for sale online! Browse the Catalogues or send a Book Query if what you're searching for isn't in the online database yet. You can also add your book to the Want's List (a database of titles that customers are searching for) in case the books come in at a later date.
Arty Bees in the Community
Here's what you just did by shopping locally with us!
1. You kept money in the local economy
Based on US research, we know that for every $100 spent in a local business, $68 is likely to stay in the community, versus $43 when spent in a national business.
2.You embraced what makes us unique
You wouldn’t want your house to look like everyone else’s in New Zealand. So why would you want your community to look that way?
3. You created local jobs
Local businesses are better at creating higher-paying jobs for local people.
4. You helped the environment
Buying from a local business conserves energy and resources in the form of less fuel for transportation, less packaging, and products that you know are safe and well made, because we stand behind them.
5. You nurtured community
We know you, and you know us. Studies have shown that local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of non-local businesses.
6. You helped keep the high street healthy
Supporting local business means more colour and variety on the high street and creates more reason for local authorities to support them.
7. You created more choice
We pick the items we sell based on what we know you like and want. Local businesses carry a wider array of unique products because we buy for our own individual market.
8. You took advantage of our expertise
You are our friends and neighbours, and we have a vested interest in knowing how to serve you. We’re passionate about what we do. Why not take advantage of it?
9. You invested in entrepreneurship
Creativity and entrepreneurship are crucial to our economy. Nurturing local business ensures a strong community.
10.You made us a destination
The more interesting and unique we are as a community, the more we will attract new neighbours, visitors and guests. This benefits everyone!
Arty Bees supporting the Community
We don’t just sell books here at Arty Bees! We support various community projects through donations and advertising. Here are some of the organisations we support.
- Habitat for Humanity Lower Hutt https://habitat.org.nz/restore/lower-hutt/
- Downtown Community Ministry Book Fair
This is where you come in! Any books we can’t use in the shop regularly get picked up by these organisations for their annual bookfairs. Other groups who sometimes use donated books for fundraising stalls are Opportunity for Animals and Taoist Tai Chi Society of New Zealand and local school fairs.
Here are some of the events we support.