|Market day in the expanded storefront|
Ages ago, about three different lives before this one, I went into business with my late brother in law. Among the many things I learned was never go into business with a brother in law. But I picked up a few other things along the way. Back then, they used to say that when you open a business, the milestones are the first six months, the first year, the second year, the third year and the fifth year. After that it's pretty much a year by year thing owing to larger forces than 'can you make it or not?'.
Well, last month they passed their six month mark. Part of that came from a phenomenal opening, and an equally impressive Black Friday. Though the pre-Christmas Level 3 snow emergencies that mandated everyone shut down was a bit of a hit. Their store is the perfect type of local business for those last minute Christmas Eve shoppers, and they missed it.
Nonetheless. they've pulled through. Strangely January was their toughest month. Otherwise they have outperformed expectations. One of the things they have done is open up to local indie authors, as well as working with different community events like a monthly market day. That's where small, local venders who sell anything under the sun can set up in their rather cavernous bookstore and sell their wares.
Today we feared Ohio State's inexplicable survival in the Big 10 Championship might cut into the crowds. Not to mention that they are next to one of our area's big sports bars (good luck finding parking). Yet they've done well, and the crowds were bigger than they hoped.
This was no doubt helped because they have expanded their bookstore to include the entire store. Initially they had opened a "minimum viable bookstore". That was largely because they had so few bookshelves and books. But we've learned one thing: Apparently there is an army of people who are itching to give away books. So with that, and a few good deals they cut with local businesses, they had the materials and shelving necessary to open up the entire store.
This has been helped by his fiancée learning how to repair books as an additional service. That's actually a thing. I've already had her fix one of my old college textbooks, and she did quite a good job. The next big thing is going online, though I have learned that's easier said than done.
In any event, it's been quite a ride. One of our local FB pages had a piece about their store. They said above all of the things people like - the laid back attitude, the atmosphere, the basic ambiance - it is simply an inspiring thing to see in our rather downbeat, doldrum days. The idea of two young kids, bucking the blah of the state of things today, and taking a big leap out together. You just have to smile with that one.