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Trident Strives for Senseless Excellence

In classical mythology trident refers to a three-pronged spear resembling the sea god Poseidon or Neptune. In Halifax, Trident Booksellers and Café, Ltd. (1256 Hollis) translates to huge lattes, espresso, an in-house roastery and a plethora of hard covers and paperbacks.

After being involved with a sister store in Boulder, Colorado, owners Janet Moe Shotwell and Hudson Shotwell moved to town in 1989. They opened up shop (1570 Argyle) in 1992 and lasted in that location for eight years. They made their home closer to the water on Hollis Street in the spring of 2000.

“The Trident as a retail business has always been somewhat classic and old world in its decor,” says Shotwell. “We sell books and the Trident is a convivial place for people to meet, along the lines of the coffeehouses in Europe and Britain. The name seems to nicely reflect that feeling”

Above the door as you walk in is a beautiful stain glasswork by Randy Hester (of Hester Glass House), featuring a coffee and bookish coat of arms with the Trident’s motto– the Senseless Pursuit of Excellence –wrapped in a yellowish banner.

“We came up with the Senseless Pursuit of Excellence as a joke to make fun of those snooty Lexus commercials in the mid nineties that always screamed, ‘the relentless pursuit of excellence,” says Shotwell.

“Basically the back story is just because you strive for excellence in everything you do, you don’t need to get so terribly puffed-up and take yourself so seriously. Also, in today’s plastic, dull, mindless and hyper-entertained throwaway world, striving for excellence probably doesn’t make much sense. So it’s a joke.”


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