As I’ve written many times before, Gottwals Books has experienced change after change after change. We opened our fourth store two weeks ago, and we are now in the process of expanding our first location. We began in Warner Robins, GA with 1500 square feet and little clue about how to operate a bookstore. One year later, we grew to 2700 square feet. Now, we are adding 1800 more, giving us a total of 4500. That’s a pretty big used bookstore!
Well, I plan to gut the entire place and start anew. We want to do it right… we want to make it whimsical and wonderful. However, the only neat ideas I can come up with are to make a hole in the wall so that kids can crawl through, and I also want to paint a portion of the ceiling with the sky/clouds. So, I need ideas.
For those of you who don’t have your own store, the initial process is great. Starting with a blank slate, able to do whatever you fancy, is exciting. Even yesterday, I went to the home improvement store and spent $400 on things I needed to start building bookcases. I’ve been working on the design for a while, and I must say that it’s turning out nicely. I stained, polyurethaned, nailed, and glued a hundred joints. There are articles on making cheap bookshelves here on bookshopblog.com, but I think I did pretty well on my own. It took me one day to build the first one… I wonder how long it’s going to take to build the other 80?
Even just that one thing… building a bookcase that is going to FILL my store and set the mood, in a sense, for those walking in… is a piece of the start-up excitement. After that come the counter area, the signage, the wall color(s), the mapping out of the different sections, the setting up of the seating area, etc. The whole process is wonderful! and expensive. The expense is part of the reason why I want to do things well this time around. We’ve always made our stores nice, but I want this place to POP! I have pried my wallet open just enough to agree to all the expense, so I want to get this ball rolling before it clamps shut again. I’m a very cheap man.
So, feed me your ideas. If you don’t have a store already, what are some of those things you envision for it? If you do have a store, please tell me those things that set you apart. I’ve been scouring the internet for images from the inside of bookstores, layouts, etc. and I’m just trying to piece together the best of the best. I know this store can be wonderful, but my brain works best with the business side of things, not the design. My wife has a great knack for making things pretty, but she has a lot on her plate already. What would you do if you can start anew? And don’t mention a coffee bar! (You would have had to read one of my earlier articles to understand this.)
You’ll be able to track the changes at www.gottwalsbooks.com! Thank you for the help.