In the Month Before We Opened our Bookshop

[an ongoing series: all the posts are here..]

(Experience Leads to Strength)

Remember the historical society cases it took so much combined effort to remove, which I myself prefer to not remember at all, ever ever ever? They had not been moved since the flood of ‘65. So the wall behind needed some cleaning and work. And when the carpet had been installed back in the late sixties, they had run it up to the base of the cases and called it good. With the cases gone, a 30 inch stretch of yellowed linoleum tile was on view, and the edges of the carpet were ragged, and not at all straight. The little ins and outs, edged with carpet glue, were less than attractive. The carpet is gray. The lino is in tones of yellow and brown. With random speckles. Also there was no baseboard trim along the walls which had been behind the cases. And the electricity turned out to not be working on the north side.

Okay, so when someone tells you that Killz paint is okay as a primer for painting a floor, shake your head and tell them you know someone who discovered this was not so. The hard way. It took three people four hours to scrape off the paint we had just put down. The rest of that gallon goes on the walls in the storeroom, so at least it won’t be wasted. According to our calculations, those walls have not been painted in at least 45 years.

Meanwhile, the paneling on the walls in the main room had to be cleaned and rubbed with dark polish to take off the scuffs. The baseboard we put on makes it look better but I never realized what those cost per foot! Not to mention the metal thingie-bobs you put along the edge of the carpet to make it look good and prevent it from unraveling, which turns out to cost even more. We have to wait to finish that job because we bought out all the trim the local lumber store had, and have to wait for a new shipment.

We decided also to spend a little money on some bookcases of the sort you put together from a box. We wanted at least part of the shop, the children’s area, to not have the towering metal monster shelves; we craved the warmth of wood, even cheap wood.

The router on the computer had blown in the middle of the night and we had no Internet. It would take two or three days to get the new one in the mail. Keeping busy would keep us from going into withdrawal. Well, we could have stayed home and cleaned house, but where’s the fun in that? We had Wednesday and Thursday to get it done, because there was another auction on Friday. With office chairs!

We started hauling in the stuff we had collected during the last 18 months into the shop. Some of it had a bordello theme, due to our previous plans. We also had to consider the limitations our space was giving us. It was less than we thought, in that T. decided he wanted his share of the space to include two 9 foot conference tables down the center of the store. He wants groups of various sizes to have meetings in the store. While this would indeed draw people into the store, I am hoping the customers won’t be inconvenienced if a meeting was happening while they shopped.

We had wanted to find a comfy couch but now wondered if we had the room. It was time to get pickier about purchases. And figure out how to unload some bordello themed knick-knacks!

6 thoughts on “In the Month Before We Opened our Bookshop”

  1. We’re looking at painting our next bookstore’s concrete floor, since we can’t afford anything else. What did end up using on your floor? If paint, what kind and how is it working? Or did you have a wood floor? Anyone have any ideas for painting concrete floors?

    • We got a floor paint from the hardware store in a basic gray,and put it onto the linoleum which we had washed, disinfected and roughed up a bit with a sander. We have several gouges and scuffs already from dropped shelves. We are going to eventually paint/stencil directly onto the floor the section names, such as ‘History” and “Westerns” and we still do not have all the trim on the carpet edges.

      • I know you are busy, time to call, as I have not heard from you in a long time. So, call or email please.

        your best brother

        • Hay! Look, it IS my little brother! You said you changed your email and I can’t find your number, the phone message just says it’s from an unknown caller. Call and give me your new email, eh?

          yer contrite sis

    • Hi Dana – Did a search for ‘concrete paint’ and found there are you tube videos showing the whole process. Some are adverts such as: – – and some are do it yourself type videos. Looks like it could be an expensive project if you wanted to get real fancy with it. Then again, if you are of an artistic bent and not opposed to a bit of labor it might be a great way to make a long lasting ‘statement’.

      I love the idea of painting the section names on the floor but if you rearrange or redesign the place you will be limited somewhat. How about colored lines leading from the door or front counter to different directions and then you are not locked in to what is at the other end? Blue line could more easily be changed from history to cooking and a color code sign is easier to change than repainting the words on the floor.

      10-12 years ago I used a Rustoleum concrete paint on a front porch (2-3 coats) and it still is doing the job. I’d highly recommend it. Plus it does not get slippery when wet. Of course my front porch does not have the same type of traffic a store floor would have. –

      Might want to check out Rustoleum’s website – – I’d suggest contacting them by phone (They have an 800 number on their website) or go to your local hardware store and ask questions until you find someone that has answers. –

      The following link leads to a handy website that makes it sound pretty easy. – – I would come on down there and help but I’ve got to list some books. Yeah! That’s it. I’ve got to list books.

      • Oh, my gosh; I didn’t realize it would be so time consuming. And back breaking. It’s a man’s job! 🙂

        After reading a lot of the articles, maybe I’ll just go with that industrial carpet, yuck. I never knew how nice tile floors were, until we lucked into our latest store with 12”x12” neutral floor tiles already there.

        Thank you for you ideas and help, prying. 🙂

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