A Very Swipey Birthday

It’s not every year you turn 25. Especially when you’re an independent, physical bookstore in an increasingly virtual market. But this month we’re passing the quarter-century mark and we couldn’t be more honoured and excited. Without the loyalty of our customers, we couldn’t have reached this point, and we’re more than grateful for your ongoing interest and support.

Today’s Swipe – the light-filled, colourful space cocooned within the 401 Richmond art hub – is a far cry from the mail-order company that co-founders Tina Hadjidimitriou and David Michaelides opened in a Ryerson Avenue office in 1987. Back then, Tina visited creative agencies with catalogues in hand, took orders, and personally delivered the books. The pair opened their first retail store on Berkeley Street in 1989, with a focus squarely on advertising and design.

A successful bid to run the Design Exchange store in 1994 meant a five-and-a-half-year stint as Swipe/indx, with inventory expanding to include objects as well as books: examples of good design – classic, contemporary and notable – by both Canadian and international designers. These were the days of Swipe’s iconic-ad-mimicking campaign by Chiat/Day, under art director Gary Holme. “Our little store isn’t so much of a novelty anymore,” read the Swipe take on the famous “Think small” Volkswagen ad: “In fact, some people who visit our little boutique don’t even think 1,000 books on advertising and design is any big deal.”

Swipe (and its 1,000 books) moved to 477 Richmond Street West in early 2000, and finally relocated to the larger, current space at 401 Richmond Street West in 2008.

Today, Swipe still offers an impressive selection of books on advertising and design (from layout, to marketing, to typography, to textiles), and a diverse collection of design objects. Add to this our extensive range of publications on architecture, green design and urban issues, our high-quality gift items and our carefully chosen books and products for children, and you have one of the most eclectic and idea-packed stores in the city, if not the country. (Possibly the continent?)

So, happy birthday to us! We love what we do, and we’re thrilled to keep doing it. We’re already looking forward to turning 50, and with your continued support, we know it’s just a matter of time!