The Bookstore, Come and Gone
Early this year I was excited to learn a bookstore would open in our town. The closest bookstores for us are an hour away through the mountains, in three different directions. I visit them all.
I hurried in to meet the new proprietor. She showed me around her newly remodeled building. She’d done amazing things over the winter. The lowest level was made into a parlor with wide windows opening unto the garden with soft chairs and fireplace. Her vision is a community room for book clubs and community groups, used at no cost. The tea bar is handy, where patrons can warm themselves on frosty days and share a cup of kindness. She set aside a nook for kids’ book clubs and crafts. Fresh, wide shelves hold books for everyone, while she still unpacked inventory.
She invested her life into the revitalization of the bookstore in our town. She booked me for her first signing event with my new book SPOKES, a triathlon story, to be signed on the day of Tour de Cashiers, a national level cycling event held annually in our town. It would be her grand opening. The morning of the event, the sun rose beautifully. I set up on her front porch to watch the cyclists.
The sun shiny day was a huge disappointment. Locals chose to ignore the national event. The downtown was empty. Her grand opening was marked not by who came, but who didn’t come. No one from the local business community came to welcome her, even though she joined the Chamber and the after-hours community. No member of any local book club, including my own, came to celebrate a new bookstore opening. A member of one book club that’s featured weekly in the newspaper, had made several trips into her shop with ideas he wanted her to do for his book club, with never a mention of what he’d do for her. He didn’t show up for her grand opening. No school administrator, teacher, parent, or student came to see the new resource in our community. Ten guests came, all out of town tourists.
After just a few months, and the “season” just starting in the mountains, we’ve lost our new bookstore. She’s done the accounting, weighed the costs, and the bottom line doesn’t support her vision of a sustainable business. I’m so saddened by this. Those who read their books on kindle probably won’t notice that she was here, and now she’s not.