A Week in the Life of a Multiple Location Bookshop Owner

Shane Gottwals www.gottwalsbooks.com Gottwals Books, as of this coming Friday, is a 4-store operation. This would be adventuresome enough if all the stores were within a close proximity, but our newest location in North Carolina is seven hours away. In the past four weeks, here is my typical schedule: Sunday Church, family, and rest. Monday … Read more

3 Years, 3 Stores


Well, Gottwals Books has been open almost 3 years.  We started with almost zero knowledge of opening a book store.  We had roughly 7500 titles in stock, and half of our shelving was bought at the department store.  We didn’t know how to accept trades, so we didn’t do it at all.  We had the walls covered with old framed images and our shelves had miniature gnomes, all hoping to be sold.
To anyone who has ever been inside a used bookstore, we must have looked a bit puny.  We had 1500 square feet of space, but our inventory only covered half of it.  A smaller space might have looked packed, but our space looked lean.
One year later, after the nail salon next door vacated (by God’s grace), we tore into the wall.  Our space became 2700 square feet and would eventually hold 50000 books.
One year after that, we got the keys to a brand new store.  Our Byron location is nearly 3600 square feet and has been successful since the beginning.  No room to expand anymore at the two locations, but I think we’re comfortable with our current sizes.

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