More on Robert Dike Blair, founder and longtime owner of the Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury, Vt., who died on Saturday. Steve Fischer, executive director of the New England Independent Booksellers Association, remembers:
Dike hired me at the Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, right out of college. I was hired to work down in the stock room while the regular guy worked through the holidays at a Christmas tree farm--making far more money than he would in a bookstore. Just as my stint was up, someone from the "shop floor" left and Dike asked me if I'd like to stay on. I leapt at the chance. I worked at the Middlebury store for almost two years and then ran the Waitsfield, Vt., branch for five.
The very first note of congratulations that I received upon being named the executive director of NEIBA was an e-mail from Dike. I felt like I'd come back home.
Dike was a gentleman of the first order and a great bookman.