Will they get a better bookshop location?

Part Seven, Cue Ominous Music (see bottom for links to the other parts)

There came a day when T. came to us and broke the sad news that the job of renovating the area upstairs at the art center was bigger than the money they had left. It was not going to be ready in a timely manner, and none of the major issues had yet been addressed.

The process had been taking long enough that we had investigated several vacant stores and locations in town with the thought of setting up on our own if necessary. For example, there was a store right next to the post office with a lot of potential, and it would be great for Internet sales. Imagine, just walking out the door and the post office is only a few steps away! But it was on the small side, being essentially an office suite of two rooms. Lots of foot traffic, though. Then, there was a former neighborhood grocery for sale, about the size of a small house, but it was off the beaten track. There were several places for rent downtown. One was roomy and $500 a month, but the parking was incredibly bad. Another used to be part of a bigger store and would need sealing off from that place, plus I’d heard something about the heating bills. Nice size, though. Also, someone was discussing starting up an antique mall, and spaces were to be $60 a month. We thought about having a space or two, but it never got off the ground. We are not in the financial position to buy a place, since we have not yet won the lottery, as unfair as that might seem.

However, T. was a man with a plan B already perking. A few doors to the north of the art center was the building he was renting for his phone business, which was undergoing some changes due to corporate building a store down near Wal-Mart. Why not move the bookstore in there and share space? We would be on site and be able to sell for him (not the phones, mind you, other stuff) so he would not have to hire a clerk, and he could have meeting space. We would get a space that did not have steps.

No steps.

I mean…no steps, no stairs. Not one. And he still had those shelves. And the rent was still the same, even if other expenses might be different.

It’s a nice space, historic, built around 1900, and has housed a jewelry store since at least 1947. The building is not as long as the building where the art center is, nor as wide, but the space is a bit bigger than the three rooms we were offered at the center. It also had a storage area with a place for a fridge and microwave. There are two small display windows that are roughly triangular in shape that face onto Main Street. One is larger than the other. The display space is about four feet off the floor with storage under it. There is an metal awning in front with stripes of white and very light beige-pink. I would bet that at one time the stripes were red.

The Welcome Center and the train station, where the tourists stop, is within shouting distance. A nice bar is around the corner. That building on the corner shares a wall with us. It is currently empty. The shop to the south of us is a beauty salon, and after that is another store, a flower shop, and then the donut shop, which has, as I think I said, the most traffic downtown.

Inside, there is the length of store, and near the back there is a little old-fashioned kiosk where the jeweler worked, in which T. had set up his cash register. A small room which is sort of a work-area is just beyond the kiosk. The back door opens onto the tiny patio of the bar next door. There are little tables with umbrellas. Oh, the possibilities….

Across from the kiosk inside are a pair of doors about nine feet apart both of which lead to a long narrow storeroom with the bathroom at one end and the furnace at the other. We could move in any time, T. said, just as soon as the county historical society moved out the heavy antique wood cases they had bought at the auction last fall when the jewelry store went out of business

Cue the ominous music.

This is Part 7 of Caro and Susan’s foray into the land of bookselling. Here are the earlier segments:

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Discussion

  1. Gregory S. Irvine

    Love the picture you stuck beside the text to represent stairs! I’ve always liked Escher. In this instance it suits the post very well. Loved the story, i do apologize for reading it in the wrong order. I was completely confused on first arrival and didn’t read the first bit about links to other parts of the series. But I have to say I’m hooked.

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