Let It Begin!

62017_alley (1)The work has finally begun for the new temporary bridges over the railroad tracks on Main Street and Merchants Row.

I have been anticipating this work for several years. Actually more like six. I saw the writing on the wall that my business was going to be affected by the work and made preparations to move my store. If you don’t know, Otter Creek Used Books was located to the left of the top photo in between the railroad tracks and Printers Alley.

I have empathy for the businesses on Main Street and Merchants Row as to how the construction will affect them. It will be trying times for all businesses including having to endure the activity, noise created by the upcoming construction.  And the uncertainty of  shoppers. The work will include closing Printers Alley for the next three years. Traffic will enter from the north of MarbleWorks off of Seymour Street. A pedestrian path will be created down Printers Alley.

As a business owner who was going to be directly affected by the construction  I was pro-active in securing a new location and worked very hard to re-establish my business and hoped to be settled by the time the work began. What I didn’t take into account were the additional environmental studies, possible lawsuits and more which derailed (pun intended) the projects for years. I have to think about how I worked to turn my store around in reputation and income when I bought it in 2006 and  was faced with the decision to move and get ahead of the construction or wait for the last moment. At that time it appeared to me the work was going to happen sooner rather than later so we moved.

I am happy in my current location in the MarbleWorks. I love it here with a definite sense of community. But I can’t help but think if I had stayed on Main Street for several more years I would not have experienced such a lost of income as I did. People couldn’t find me. They assumed I closed the store. Fortunately the amazing staff at the Vermont Book Shop were the best and directed people to my new location. In fact, they still are. Book people are the best! My first several years here were very hard as I was faced with once again rebuilding my business. It was hard doing it once. Twice in five years is difficult. The lost of income was staggering. But I did it thanks to my incredible family and local customers and of course, the MarbleWorks community.

I am going into this town project being positive, optimistic and any other affirming words you want to throw together. The store will survive and our communities will rally around all the downtown businesses. Now is clearly the time to Shop Local. And for good measure I will keep my fingers crossed. 🙂

62017_alley (2)

Closed on Saturday, May 6th


My mother

“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing our enthusiasm,” Aldous Huxley
A perfect quote to describe my mother, Muriel Harms, who will be turning 90 years old later this month. May 10th to be exact. But this weekend Saturday, May 6, my family and I will be celebrating her day with friends, neighbors and co-workers. Yes, she is still working. Retirement is not within her vocabulary.
The store will be closed all day Saturday, May 6 for her celebration. See you Monday, May 8.


Everyone Needs Mary Poppins in Their Life, Right?

marypoppins“The same substance composes us–the tree overhead, the stone beneath us, the bird, the beast, the star–we are all one, all moving to the same end.” – P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins

Obviously I’m back from my vacation. Just getting really bad at keeping this site current. I spend so much of my time taking care of books as they come in. Cleaning to sorting, pricing to shelving. Rearranging shelves and moving books around. Trying to fit  books onto the shelves or creatively stacking. Patiently waiting for additional shelving to be installed. And there’s the issue of what do I write? I want this blog to be fresh. But I can’t always write about SPS. How boring is that? So that’s where I’m stuck. We’re coming out of April and its showers and heading into May with its flowers. That’ll surely pick me up and get me back on the creative path. Sure hope so!

I’ll leave you with this…“Don’t you know that everybody’s got a Fairyland of their own?” -P.L. Travers, MARY POPPINS. Of course!


OCUB Mini Vacation 3/27-3/31/2017

IMG_1516“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” – Seth Godin

I don’t feel I need to escape from my life but I do feel a need for a short break. A change. Fresh, salty air is in order for me. So I’m taking a few days off next week – Monday, March 27 through Friday, March 31. I’ll go exploring used bookstores, walk a beach or two, buttery seafood, enjoy a pot of tea in a bakery and put my feet up on a chair and start in on a new read. Nothing fancy but just enough to clear my head. It’s my bi-annual vacation of five days. Five days of nothingness. I won’t care about the weather or anything. Just what books to bring to read, what used bookshops to pop into, and how many boxes of books to bring back for the store.

“That’s why people take vacations. Not to relax or find excitement or see new places. To escape the death that exists in routine things.” – Don DeLillo, White Noise

“She loves the serene brutality of the ocean, loves the electric power she felt with each breath of wet, briny air.” – Holly Black, Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale 

24th Vermont Book, Postcard & Ephemera Fair

2017_VABA_FairThe Vermont Antiquarian Booksellers Association’s sponsored event will be held Saturday April 8th from 10am-4pm at the Hilton Burlington overlooking Lake Champlain. If you are a book lover then you must go to this show. Even if it is just to admire the books, ephemera or postcards. It is an amazing experience as an attendee as well as to be a vendor.

Brick & mortar used bookshops, those who sell only online to those who sell by appointment only  will be in attendance showcasing their wares. All will be excited to talk about their inventories, their favorite books and then some. Oh, just to talk about books in general.  And who doesn’t want to talk about books?

2012 Spring VABA Book Fair

Otter Creek Used Books a a VABA sponsored book fair

At this point in time, I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it due to the responsibilities of my own store. But I’m hoping to so I’ll keep you posted. Until then I’m still going through incoming boxes of books and getting them ready for shelving. A never-ending task but that’s as it should be, right? Yep!


We Did It!

entrance“March came in that winter like the meekest and mildest of lambs, bringing days that were crisp and golden and tingling, each followed by a frosty pink twilight which gradually lost itself in an elfland of moonshine.”  -L.M. Montgomery

You can’t beat the month of March. It’s one of my favorite months. To me it is a sign of better things to come. Spring! Warmer days. A hint of flowers starting to pop out of the ground. Days are noticeably longer. Indeed, a very good month.

February can lay to rest. And I’m happy with that. It was a good month in spite of my disdain for it. The weather was amazing. The half-off sale went from February 15 to the end of the month and to me, was very successful. Thank you all who came to enjoy the sale. I like how many customers know the sale will be annual and make a special trip to the area to take advantage of it. Many boxes and armloads of books made their way out the door. And the bowl of chocolates is almost empty.

Now it’s time to fill the shelves back up. Selecting books to markdown to put into sale baskets for outside. And begin spring cleaning and looking forward to a glorious Vermont spring. We did it!

February! Ugh! But Wait…a 50% Off Sale!

“Even though February was the shortest month of the year, sometimes it seemed like the longest.”  -J.D. Robb

“Why does February feel like one big Tuesday?” -Todd Stocker

50off_signExactly! That’s just how I feel about February and then some. You can say whatever you want but my mind won’t change. I’ve felt this way about February for as long as I can remember.

“Without Valentine’s Day, February would be…well, January.” -Jim Gaffigan

Yep! So let’s do something about this situation. Like, I Hate February Half-off Sale! Sounds good to me. It will run Monday, February 13 through Saturday, February 25. Come in and we’ll cheer each other up. With chocolate and exciting books that have recently found their way into the store.

“The most serious charge which can be brought against New England is not Puritanism, but February…Spring is too far away to comfort even by anticipation, and winter long ago lost the charm of novelty. This is the very three a.m. of the calendar.” -Joseph Wood Krutch




Burns Night!


January 25 is Burns Night. Celebrate the life of the Bard Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet. An evening of steaming haggis, Burns poetry, toasting the lads and lassies,  ending with a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Visit scotland.org or robertburns.org to learn how to host a proper Burns Night and the traditions associated with it.

As for me, I’m settling on a vegetarian haggis. 🙂 I found a great recipe at rootsandwren.com.

Go On, Sweet Bird, And Sooth My Care
For thee is laughing Nature gay,
For thee she pours the vernal day;
For me in vain is Nature drest,
While Joy’s a stranger to my breast.
-Robert Burns, 1788

2017 – Year of Used Books


I haven’t been very good about posting here due to all that’s been happening in the store. I’ve really been caught up with the usual – S/P/S (sorting, pricing, shelving) – due to all the many books coming into the store. Wonderful collections that excite me that I want to just get them ready for shelving. Virginia Woolf books – about her or written by her; Sherwood Anderson, some first editions; T.S. Eliot, Henry James, etc., etc. Many new paperbacks and various topic hard copies have all worked their way into the store.


Thanksgiving Gratitude

“As we eocub_deerxpress our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them”. – John F. Kennedy’s 1963 Thanksgiving Day Proclamation.

Wishing all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Check back on Friday for some fun news happening the next day Saturday, November 26. Small Business Saturday as well as my tenth year owning OCUB!