I admit that there are occasions when I wonder if my business associates and I are delusional about opening a bookstore. Fortunately, those doubts are often put to rest when I read stories like this one: “Indie Booksellers: ‘Indispensible Players in Community Life.’” There are so many great quotes in this article that remind me what we are doing is not self-serving, but bringing something special to a vibrant Long Island community. For instance, this quote by Bill Morris, who is touring for his latest book, Motor City Burning: “This intimate contact is vital to both readers and writers–and it’s something that can’t be replicated online.” And there it is.
Where’s the Human Connection?
Even though books are available online and can be purchased with a few clicks of a button, the human connection is missing. When I first started working at Borders Books & Music years ago, one of the rewards was having the opportunity to introduce patrons to new authors or a book that has been around for awhile but slipped beneath their radar. Then, a few years later, as an events coordinator, I enjoyed watching the excitement of those thrilled to meet one of their favorite authors. I, too, was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with some notables, including Walter Cronkite, Frank McCourt and Kurt Vonnegut, just to name some in the long list of authors I not only met, but had the good fortune to befriend.
A Host of Opportunities
When Peggy, Dianne and I open Turn of the Corkscrew, Books & Wine, we are looking forward to bringing something special to the town of Rockville Centre. We are eager to give the community the opportunity to meet authors they might not ever have the chance to do so otherwise. We also look forward to hosting workshops. (We’ve already been approached by a film class that wants to meet at the store when we open.) And how great it will be to have story time and see children’s eyes light up as they discover The Very Hungry Caterpillar! I have to bring to mind all these forthcoming happenings when I begin to get frustrated about the process of opening a bookstore taking too long.
Much Work To Be Done
Even though we have an ideal town for our bookstore, a specific location has been tricky. Each space that we initial fall in love with has had a drawback for one reason or another. One space that was over 2500 square feet and had a back room that would make a great office space didn’t work out because we weren’t near a municipal parking lot and in order to get a tavern license that is one of the requirements. We are certainly learning a lot about permits and building codes as we go forward. We also discovered there is something called rental concession, which makes a whole lot of sense to someone (us) looking to sign a lease for a space that needs major construction and will not yield any income for at least three months while the work is being done. Not having to pay any rent until we are actually open does give us some breathing space. That’s the good news and when one is trying to start a new business, one hangs on to any good news one can.
I suppose it’s the quiet time, the time when we have to wait for responses to our questions from those who have the answers that the doubts start to nag me. Contractors, real estate folks and building managers all have their jobs to do, but waiting for them to get back to us can seem like days. I suppose it’s because we are eager to make our bookstore happen that impatience is rearing its ugly head. I shouldn’t freak out, though, since I recently read about a bookstore that took three years to open. Three years? True, good things come to those who wait, but we certainly hope to be open long before three years from now.