It's only August 5, but fall fever seems to have hit my Instagram account. I'm watching friends post pictures of autumn leaves and cooler temperatures, and I think I must be missing something. It's still a set 90-degrees each day here, and although school may be back in session, folks are still trickling in and out of town. Summer hasn't said goodbye quite yet, not in my mind anyway.
I'm a fall girl all the way, but this year, I found joy in the slower-paced summer days, in the road trips and late nights, in front porch swinging and lemonade drinking. My heart, I think, still belongs to autumn, but summer has become something special.
When you work in retail -- when you own your own business -- you have to adjust to a completely new calendar. Preparation for Christmas begins in July; January and February might as well not even be on the calendar; and summer? Well summer is for sprucing. With fewer customers and slower days, it's the perfect time to make some changes in the shop.
Summer might be slow, but we've been busy.
We moved the register from one side of the store to another, then instituted a stationery nook in the middle of the store. (It's my new favorite thing, and it's going to get better and better as the months go by. Right now, you can get your Moleskine fix and pick up a pretty greeting card or two.)
We hosted our third annual Waldo hunt, designed to get people back in their locally-owned, downtown businesses. Over 25 stores in Thomasville joined us in hiding Waldo within their doors, and over 70 area children participated in the hunt. Waldo and his girlfriend Wondla paid us a visit, and our Waldo lookalike contest was a big success.
I managed to kill our outdoor plants somewhere between May and July (though to be honest, they lasted much longer than they ever should have), and their fallen leaves were a reminder that our entry needed a little love. With a brand new shop moving in two doors down (hooray!), it was time to give our own entry a little TLC. New plants, painted doors, an updated logo, and our best window displays yet managed to get the job done. Haven't been by to see us lately? We're posting updates of the shop daily on our Instagram page. (But really. Do walk by soon; the store is looking so good!)
Summertime events are hard to schedule, but Tallahassee author CJ Hauser needed a location for her debut book launch, and we were happy to accommodate. Over 3o people stopped by the store to congratulate CJ on her new novel, The From Aways. (It's a great end-of-summer read if you're looking for one.) We're so grateful for the support we receive from the nearby Tallahassee community; our Tallahasseeans help keep us in business, and they made CJ's book launch a huge success. So huge, we're hoping to host other events like it this fall. (We've already got another FSU student and yes, Charles Martin, in the works.)
Somewhere in all of the sprucing and the signings, our social media accounts began falling by the wayside. I started running out of steam, and I came home every night exhausted. This job is not for the faint of heart, but it's also not something to be done alone.
Enter our new employee, Sidney Webb. Sidney's all set to introduce herself to the Bookshelf world later this week, but let me give you the rundown. Social media is saving small business. It's also exhausting to maintain. Sidney's taking over our social media accounts, coordinating events, and generally being a huge help at a time I really needed it. We're so happy to have her on board at The Bookshelf. (And we can't wait to drag her behind the counter during the holiday hustle and bustle. Get ready, Sidney!)
Friends and family in places where it's less than 90-degrees might be gearing up for fall, but me? I'm enjoying this last month or so of summer. This season has been so good for The Bookshelf, and it's also been good for me. I've loved seeing the store transform little by little, and I think, in time, it's transforming me too.
See you in the shop,