Meg Flynn and Emily Welch are two moms who opened up Black Rock Books, a bookstore in their beloved neighborhood of Black Rock. They offer a curated selection of new and used books, gifts, as well as a variety of community events for all ages.
Where are you originally from and how long have you been in Black Rock?
Meg: I’m a Connecticut native, originally from North Branford. I moved to New York City in 2014, where I met my husband. We moved to Fairfield County in November of 2020, during the pandemic. Our son, Apollo, had been born that April and we realized we wanted to be closer to family and live somewhere where we knew our neighbors. When we stumbled on Black Rock, we knew we’d found the right place.
Emily: I grew up in Bernardsville, New Jersey and after living in New York City for a few years, I moved up here in 2008 to be closer to my oldest sister Amy and my three young nieces. I had always been drawn to Black Rock and felt easily at home with the vibe in the neighborhood and loved where it was situated within Fairfield County.
Tell us about your Family!
Meg: We’re a family of three plus two cats: it’s me, my husband, Casey, our 3 year old son, Apollo, and our furry friends Stevie and Joni (named after the musicians).
Emily: I’m a divorced mom of one; my daughter Hazel is 5 and half. We have a rescue kitty named Onyx and live with one of my best friends who is known as Uncle Bradley to my daughter.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Meg: I have a BFA in Fine Art Photography, but I’m also in the midst of completing a masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Not necessarily the background you would expect from someone who co-owns a bookstore, but the practical applications have been helpful in managing social media and connecting with customers.
Emily: When I was in 5th grade, I was asked to be a flower girl in Mariah Carey’s wedding. I stood with 49 other girls at St Paul’s Cathedral on 5th Ave and threw petals at her feet as she ascended the steps. Half of my 10 year old face was on the cover of People Magazine!
One thing you wish someone would have told you about motherhood?
Meg: As a new mom, I compared myself to everyone around me. There is no one way to raise a child; every family functions in their own way. Once we found our rhythm, I felt more confident that I didn’t always need to do what everyone else was doing.
Emily: How the worry never goes away. How anxious thoughts would keep you up at night. How you would have to re-parent yourself in order to best parent your child. How they are mirrors of and to yourself and how they delight and frustrate you in the same moment!
What’s your favorite thing about raising a family in Black Rock?
Meg: The community. So many of my friendships here have been formed through encounters walking around the neighborhood, which is actually how I met Emily! We feel incredibly lucky to live in a neighborhood where Apollo has so many friends who live closeby, and we do too.
Emily: It’s a wonderful neighborhood in which to be a kid and the situation here makes it easy as a parent to meet up with other families, either intended or organically. There’s always a friendly face at the playground or along your walk. The neighborhood also exposes kids to art, music, great food and cultural activities within minutes of home.
Best mom hack that makes your life easier?
Meg: I Spy. You can play it anywhere, anytime, and I’m not at risk of forgetting it at home. When the grocery store line or car ride is getting too boring, we bust this out.
Emily: Markers and blank paper currently seem to do the trick.
Tell us about your business, and when & why you decided to get into this business?
Meg: I’m a lifelong reader and I have always enjoyed a good bookstore, specifically a small, locally owned store where you can tell the owner’s are passionate about books and creating an atmosphere that reflects the community. When we moved to Black Rock, I immediately felt that was a missing piece of the puzzle here. I shared the idea with Emily, and the rest is history!
Emily: I’ve been in the hospitality and liquor industry for over 20 years now and I wanted to get involved in a business that would both feed my soul and play a part in the amazing Black Rock community. Meg had the idea when she first moved here and shared it with me at the beginning of this year. I knew it was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to do and exactly the kind of thing this neighborhood needed. I jumped at the chance to get involved and here we are!
Tell us about hobbies other than working and being a mom?
Meg: This should surprise no one, but I love to read. If I’m not sitting down and reading a book, I’m probably listening to one while getting stuff done around the house or the store.
Emily: I move my body any chance I get. I lift, rock climb, hike, ski, snowboard, paddleboard and dance. When I’m not doing any of those things, you’ll also find me reading.
Best advice for moms who experience the inevitable MOM GUILT handling a career and raising a family?
Meg: I like to remind myself that I have never once heard the term “dad guilt” discussed in any seriousness. It’s easy to feel like you’re missing out on something while you’re building a career and raising a family; time with your kid, time to yourself or with your spouse. I try to make the time I do have count.
Emily: As a single mom starting a business and working full-time, I experience this all the time. I constantly try to balance everything but it’s an impossible task. I just tell myself that I’m raising a resilient, confident kid who has no doubt in her mind that she is loved and cared for unconditionally, whether I’m present or off taking care of my responsibilities for my family. And most importantly, when I’m with my daughter, I do my best to put 100% of my attention on her.
Who has most influenced you to be the mom that you are today?
Meg: I think all of the women in my life have influenced how I approach motherhood. Blending advice and observations from my own mom, my aunts, my mother and sister in law, and my friends gives me a lot of perspective and makes me feel supported.
Emily: Certainly my own mother is a huge influence. From her, I get strength but also tenderness. But I’d say my oldest sister Amy is my biggest influence. I spent my early twenties and thirties watching her raise three amazing girls and in a way, she’s raised me. She is thoughtful, kind, wise and perceptive. As a mom and friend, Amy has a graceful way of guiding, supporting and teaching her children which allows them to safely make mistakes and effectively learn, all with a foundation of unflinching love. I’ve always admired this and try my best to emulate it.
What advice would you share with a new mom or other moms?
Meg: Learning about the concept of the “good enough mother” helped me stop chasing perfection. Essentially, when we fail our children in developmentally appropriate, expected ways, we build resilience that helps prepare them for our unpredictable world. Letting children experience discomfort and navigate them through it when needed, allows them to eventually do it on their own.
Emily: Practice makes progress and always do the repair. Everyone makes mistakes and showing your kid that you aren’t perfect is life changing, for both of you.
We love supporting local businesses – favorite places in Black Rock/Fairfield to…
Have Dinner with Family:
Meg: The Castle Black Rock
Emily: Hub and Spoke
Grab a Drink with Friends:
Emily: Park City Music Hall
Spend time together as a Family:
Meg: St. Mary’s
Meg: Seabright Beach, aka Little Beach
Emily: Ellsworth Park or St. Mary’s
Meg: Source Coffeehouse
Emily: Tasty Yoke or Harborview, 50/50 split!
@ blackrockbooksct on Instagram