A guest Post by Chris Ambrosia of Ambrosia Books
I did all the research. I taught myself how to buy books. I taught myself how to start the business. I ran the demographics for my area and wrote a business plan. I signed the lease and spent any and all of my extra cash from my paying job to buy library red paint and material for my counters and bookshelves. I needed to make approximately 700 square feet into the best little bookstore I could. After everything was ready, the lease signed (one year, which I consider my trial run), the new books ordered and the used books acquired, I hung up the open sign on April 3(my birthday).
With the Ambrosia’s Books and More sign hung nicely above the outside window, the interior lighting bright, the counters and shelves dusted and stocked, I waited for my first customers. I’m located next to a small diner, foot traffic right? Well, the locals frequent the restaurant and usually discuss planting, milking cows, the difference between the flavors of one farms milk compared to that of the others. I had inquired about selling coffee in my store hoping to bring the kids from the college into town. I asked my landlord and the man that owns the restaurant. Both felt it would step on toes. Not wanting to step on toes, and wanting to keep my space as rent is affordable, I conceded. Besides, going through the health department and setting up sinks, restrooms, etc. are things I don’t know if I’m ready for yet.
The first customers came through the door and with a smile I greeted my mother and her friend, a Harlequin junkie, which when you come to my store, explains the hundreds of copies. And as a side note, I was only a little embarrassed that this 70 year old woman read these novels. So my mother, Mrs. O. and my sister, who was helping me in the event I got a rush I couldn’t handle, and I, sat waiting for the magical time when people would line up outside my door begging to get a look at what I have.
I got through that first day without any permanent damage. I also didn’t have any crazy rushes, or even tiny little bursts. I had my very supportive friends and family trickle in throughout the day and the weekend. I made a little bit of money and answered the question, ’Why did you decide to do this’ several times. My “favorite” uncle came in late Friday night after it started to rain and my sister and I were staring at each other wondering if we’d get another person in the door. He’s been the cool one, only eleven years older than I, but I thought the world of him. He’s an avid reader as is the rest of his family. Three of the six members of his family own Kindles so I didn’t expect to see him at all. But he came and he asked me the question I’d heard so many times already. I looked at him for a moment and wondered if he ever really knew me. When I wrote my first novel, I entered it into a competition and asked him to check it out. He asked me when I became a writer. I’ve been writing my whole life, just never sold anything. So I explained to him about wanting to have my own thing, a place that was mine, my own business, to be my own boss. And the one thing I love is books. I’m a dental hygienist by trade and have been working for the same office for ten years. I love my job, my patients, my co-workers and everything about the job, but it will never be mine.
So I’m open. My sign hangs and the rest of the weekend went well, beyond expectations actually. I did everything right. I was happy and from the feedback I received from the few local people that popped in, my store is a welcome business in the community. I turned my sign around at 3pm on Sunday afternoon, turned off the lights, locked the doors then took my four children and their dad to my mothers’ for a home cooked meal, a quick game of poker with my dad and my brother, and a generous piece of chocolate birthday cake!
If you find yourself in the Sanborn, New York area – please drop by.
Books and More
5837 Buffalo St
Sanborn, NY 14132