By Kate Rogers, Community Editor
Looking for great food, great coffee and a warm, welcoming study spot? Quill Books and Beverages in Westbrook offers all this, as well as a chance to support local businesses and pick up a new book at the same time. Opened in March of 2018, Quill is both a cafe and a used bookstore. They strive to be an active and inclusive part of the surrounding community, according to co-owner Allison Krzanowski.
Quill offers a wide variety of coffees and teas as well as a rotating selection of local craft beers, according to their website. Their menu consists of toasts, sandwiches and salads, some familiar and some unique. All their bread comes from Night Moves in Biddeford, who according to Krzanowski, only use grain grown in Maine. Their baked goods are from the Tin Pan bakery in Portland, and their coffee from Swift River Coffee Roasters in Raymond.
With the new Husky Line that stops in Westbrook, Quill is easily accessible to USM students — just a short walk from the bus stop, next to the CVS across the road from the Portland Pie CO. USM student and psychology major Brandon Buck said that he loves Quill’s coffee and food and frequently visits. “Typically I just do grab and go, but when I have the time I like just sitting there and working on homework or reading,” Buck said. Krzanowski said that they love to be visited by USM students and hope that they continue to enjoy the space.
When Krzanowski was in college, she worked a lot with social justice organizations through her social work major. Quill was born out of a want to have more community space, and along with that came supporting local organizations and businesses, she said. One of the biggest ways Quill does this is by hosting a myriad of events, many to raise money and spread awareness for local organizations. When they first opened, they tried to do an event once a month where they would donate part of their earnings to a certain business; Maine Trans Net and the Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine were some that partnered with them, Krzanowski said.
Now Quill hosts many more events, including a weekly board game night. According to Krzanowski, they have done things like Planned Parenthood Trivia, and had Speak About It, an organization that does sexual assault and consent education, bingo. They have also hosted Maine Trans Net’s poetry slam, have local authors come and read once a month, and have writing workshops once a week. “I hope that as Quill grows we can host even more of these types of events,” Krzanowski said.
The owners of Quill have worked hard to be inclusive. “I would consider Quill an LGBTQIA space. From opening day it was important to us to be a safe space,” Krzanowski said. They make a point to hire staff who are comfortable with and trusted to use gender neutral language and correct pronouns, according to Krzanowski. As well as supporting LGBTQ organizations in their events, they have had some that are entirely queer focused. One of the most interesting, according to Krzanowski, is their queer speed dating events. “As a queer person myself, I thought about what kind of events I personally would like to go to, or would have liked to go to at different points in my life,” Krzanowski said. She hopes to have more of these events in the coming year.
Quill is open every day at varying hours. From Wednesday to Saturday they are open until 10 p.m. for those who like to study late. To find out more about their menu and their upcoming events, like the board game night they host every Wednesday, you can visit their website at quillbooksandbeverage.com. Or, even better, stop in for a coffee.