Curb Appeal and More

When visitors step through the imposing 12-foot-high front doors of this1860s Painted Lady Victorian, they often comment on the lovely house, the intricate woodwork, the faux-marble mantels. As they wander through the shop they remark on our “Blind Date with a Book” display, the staircase-turned-stack of favorite books and the “read-in kitchen” that is home to most of our previously loved and vintage collections.

The read-in kitchen is a great gathering place.
The read-in kitchen is a favorite gathering place for book clubs and to celebrate most any occasion!

shakespeare and companyEvery independent bookshop has a distinctive style and history – be it centuries long or just a decade short. I still smile when I think of my first visit to Shakespeare and Company in London and remember with equal fondness my monthly treasure hunts in a quirky little used book shop in Montclair, New Jersey. That used bookshop (its shelves I remember well but its name escapes me) may no longer be in business but it holds a special place in my memory.While The Book Garden is not among the iconic bookshops of the world (yet) we strive to leave a lasting impression.

Like any home, ours needs constant love and attention and January is when we prioritize our to-do list of shop improvements for the year. Working within the limits of a budget and not owning our space, we rely on our own creativity, and a little help fro our friends!

This year our plans include:

  • Giving the children’s reading room a facelift starting with a fresh coat of paint
  • Adding to our front garden to give it more curb appeal
  • Adding new lighting around the store.

Part of the fun, and the appeal, of being a retail bookshop is creating a unique, comfortable space that customers want to revisit, and remember to mention to their friends. And we’re always looking for inspiration so feel free to share!

Our artist-in-residence Shannon presenting the stairs-turend-stack of books she created for us!
Our artist-in-residence Shannon presenting the stairs-turend-stack of books she created for us!

 

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Caroline Scutt

Caroline Scutt is the co-owner of The Book Garden in Frenchtown, NJ. While she is relatively new to the retail side of publishing, Caroline’s professional writing career began in 1992 as a reporter for "Travel Weekly" newspaper and she has recently published her first novel, Some Girls.

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Discussion

  1. Dan

    Thank You. We are re-doing our store – in a new location (next door, bigger with more windows , and on the main corner!) – and your advice it timely and astute. What we sell is sometimes less important than how we sell it: atmosphere is everything! (Well, location is, but once you have that you still need Curb Appeal!).

    1. Caroline Scutt

      Good luck with your re-do! Please share some photos to inspire the rest of us!

  2. Dan

    Caroline, we re-opened (never actually closed) in the new location at the end of May, and have enjoyed a burst of increased Summer business, from new and long-time customers both. Curb Appeal, cannot be beat! Your place is the nicest I have seen, in pictures – perhaps one day I will be able to visit. In the meantime, you had mentioned photos and I will add the link to our Facebook page:

    https://www.facebook.com/NearlyNewBooksComox

    Cheers! And Best Wishes!!!

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