Mascots, Helpers and Décor.

We would love to have a bookstore cat.  We think bookstore cats are enchanting.  We even have a few candidates at home, and one of those is a sweetie who qualifies as perfect for the job, a loving, dignified and charming example of the feline species.  The lady next door in the beauty salon brings her tiny dog every day, so I doubt the landlord would object.  But Main Street is also US Highway 50, with a steady rumble of semi-trucks and heavy traffic right outside the door.  If the poor kitty got out the door, the result would probably be fatal.  So rather than risk it, we have settled for a cat statue of cheap plaster, and the spiritual presence of the tail-less feral cats who once lived in the area.

vintage safeThere is a HUGE vintage safe between the kiosk and the back room.  That safe is not going anywhere, so we are going to use the top of it to display the cat, as in general cats like to be high up.  I’m going to include a picture of the safe because it is fantastically decorated.  The company which made it went out of business in the late 1880’s.  It came with the place as a sort of feature, as the landlord does not care to move it at this time.  If ever.   In fact, someone told us the last time it moved was when it fell through the floor during the flood of 1965.  It is somewhere between 120 and 150 years old.

We also have the railroad fan who lobbied hard for the Depot name.  In general, he approves of the store, because in exchange for his hard work he is going to earn a laptop of his own.   However, also in general, he disapproves of hard work.  How this conflict will work out remains to be seen.

The ceilings in the shop are high and extend four or five feet beyond the top of the highest shelf, so we have space up there to decorate. T. wants a selection of album covers, some posters, and items of interest.  Items have to be big enough to be visible from that little distance, and preferably be cool or in sync with our train theme.  Somewhere I have some old book-related posters from my library days.  T. wants to feature the work of local artists up there, too.

Then, there is the matter of the display windows.  How often does one change the displays?  How far before the holiday do you start featuring items involving the holiday?  How long can a book be in the window before the sun affects it too much?  I’m thinking an oversized poster of a book cover might be better than putting the actual book in the window?

Here’s what I have collected for window displays so far:  two cow skulls, a painted horse skull, old style oil lamps, three small book shelves, several novelty glass items, a fantastic huge two-sided display easel (clear acrylic, 14 inches high and 36 inches long), a dozen metal book easels, two vintage aluminum Christmas trees with ornaments, several large baskets, a cowboy hat, a t-shaped bar to display a shirt, a stuffed Valentine bear, several metal milk crates, several lengths of colorful cloth, eight vintage table cloths and a quilt top from 1935, some baskets and decorated boxes.  Oh, and some Mardi Gras masks and beads, a box of vintage buttons, a knitted afghan, a quilt top from 1935, a Christmas basket and some red tinsel garlands, a rubber bat, and a stuffed toy cat. What items do you use for display that you think I should go out and look for?  I already decided more lengths of cloth for artistic draping would not be such a bad idea.  My big question is how to organize and store these items and to make it readily accessible?

4 thoughts on “Mascots, Helpers and Décor.”

  1. Hey Caro, I don’t know how I missed reading this one when it was first posted but I did miss it till today.

    One thing about having a cat statue of cheap plaster as a mascot is there will be fewer customers that have allergies sneezing into a book they are perusing and cat statues of cheap plaster seldom hack up furballs on whatever is the most expensive item that is laying around. Good choice I say…

    Wondering about your window display. How big is/are your window(s)? Can you post a picture?

    • The windows display areas are oddly shaped, and I will try to post a picture but frankly, the pictures don’t catch the shape well either when the window is full. The space is triangular. In each case the long side is the window glass. The small window is about 5 feet long and the bigger window 10 feet. They start about 3 1/2 feet up from the floor (cupboards underneath)and the window glass is four feet high. Anyway, I am totally grateful the windows are small, as if they were huge it would be more work than we could handle.

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