Can we talk for a minute about all of the exciting transformations happening at The Bookshelf right now?
Using some of our James Patterson grant money, we’ve been able to add a couple of brand new bookshelves, which has expanded our young adult offerings, as well as our classics and poetry section. And since adding new shelves often means consolidating others, we’ve been able to add a travel section and a new humor/memoir section, both by popular demand. We’ve labeled everything nice and clearly for you, and although we still have some empty shelves to fill in, things are moving along at a pretty rapid pace.
It’s amazing to watch the things you’ve planned and sketched out on paper begin to come to life, and unlike some of the changes I’ve made in the shop before, I suspect this one might be harder for customers to notice. That’s intentional! The new shelves were designed and created locally to match the others, and instead of moving too many things around, we simply took down some shelving we’ve used for gift product to make room for more books. This brings me almost inexplicable joy.
Gifts help make the bookstore exist, but it’s incredibly fantastic to be able to expand not our gift selection, but our book selection. I’d like to think that’s a sign we’re doing something right.
All of the new books on the shelves aren’t the only things making me happy this summer. With the expansion of books comes an expansion of our store staff, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Earlier this summer, we added Chris Jensen into our midst; Chris is an FSU PhD student, and he drives up from Tallahassee a few times a week to offer his expertise at the shop. He’s been a stellar addition to an already-knowledgeable staff, and based on customer comments, I think you all like him, too. Lucky for us, he’s sticking around this fall, working weekend shifts.
During the week, you’ll be seeing a lot more of Rebekah, who just finished her degree in early childhood development. She’s always been well-versed in our middle reader and YA sections, plus she conducts our weekly story times, but now that she’s done with school, she’ll be even more involved in our day-to-day operations. (Did I mention I’m thrilled?)
Two other new staffers joined us earlier this month: Kathryn Arwood (yes, another Arwood; why stop at just one?) and Sterling Ivey. Kathryn’s taking over our social media accounts, plus helping me stay on top of store events, and Sterling’s joining us during the week as a bookseller. Both are well-read and well-suited for the shop, and as Thomasville natives, they already know more about the area than I do.
It’s hard to believe, but I took over The Bookshelf two years ago this July. This is by far the most stressful, difficult work I’ve ever done, but this summer, I’ve watched a lot of that work result in an increase in sales and a growing store and staff. And although I’m hoping part of this success is to do the work my staff and I are doing, I know mostly, it’s due to you. Thank you, thank you, for your continued support of our shop, for your special orders and your conversations at the counter, for your excitement and for your attendance at events.
We are so grateful, and to show it, we’re hosting a Store Expansion and Customer Appreciation weekend. Basically, we’re giving you 10 percent off any books found in our new sections, plus offering treats and eats during shopping hours and a little sidewalk sale on Saturday.
You’re the reason I get to keep living the dream, and I think that deserves some recognition.
Thank you with all my heart.
See you in the shop,