Here it is the middle of November! Next week Thanksgiving. Hard to believe. Seems like the year is whizzing by.
I thought I’d post my holiday schedule. I will be closed Thanksgiving Day. My daughter and son-in-law will be cooking up the feast this year. So this used bookstore lady will be putting her feet up with grandsons crawling all over her. I will offer to help clean up but I know they’ll shoo me out of the kitchen so I’ll play with the 3 1/2 year old and 11 month old some more. When I return home I know I’ll be so worn out I’ll have to put my feet up again but this time sit with a cup of tea and a good read and enjoy quiet time.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving marks nine years that I’ve owned the store. 9 years! So that day I’ll be hosting a 50% off sale. I know! An exciting day all the way around. Buying books is what keeps the store alive. It’s also Small Business Saturday which the store is participating in. Free SMS cloth bags to the first ten shoppers.
Starting Sunday, November 29 the store will be open 11-3 pm and will be open each Sunday through December with those same hours. Obviously I will be closed on Christmas Day as well as New Year’s Day. Christmas and New Year’s Eve I will close around 3pm or last customer.
For 2016 I am going to try something I haven’t tried before. I am going to be closed on Mondays, January-March. I’m doing that for the all important “me” time. I have worked six days a week for the past nine years. During foliage and over the Christmas holidays I work a full week. I’m going to cherish having two days off in a row for those months. Just think of all the mischief I can get myself in.
If you have been in lately you have seen full boxes coming in and empty boxes going to recycling. It’s been craziness in here. A good crazy. New used books getting shelved every day. My five-day vacation yielded a number of books that have already made their way up on the shelves – history, farming, Vermontica and then some.
Here’s OCUB holiday calendar:
- Nov 26 – Thanksgiving, closed
- Nov 28 – 50% off 9 Year Anniversary Sale & Small Business Saturday
- Nov 29 – Open 11-2pm and each Sunday throughout December
- Dec 10 – Stag & Doe Night . Open until 8 pm
- Dec 24 – Open 10-3pm or last customer
- Dec 25 – Christmas Day closed. Merry Christmas!
- Dec 31 – Open 10-3pm or last customer
- Jan 1 – New Year’s Day closed
- Jan 4 – closed and closed each Monday through March 28
A wonderful family friend asked if I would be interested in displaying some books he’s written. YES! was my response. Of course. I think I was more honored that he asked me than anything.
The local author is Arnold R. Highfield, a professor, historian, writer, and poet. He’s best known for his historical works on the Danish West Indies and the United States Virgin Islands. He began his teaching career in 1964 and taught in several colleges including the University of the Virgin Islands (St Croix campus), Lycee Jaccard in Pully, Switzerland, and Middlebury College.
In addition to his own writing, Highfield has published an impressive number of translation editions, and numerous other books, academic papers and articles along with two books of poetry.
Mr. Highfield and his wife, Shirley DeChabert-Highfield, have lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands since the 1960s and currently divide their time between homes in Le Grande Princesse, St. Croix, and Middlebury, VT.
Please stop in the store to see his books and list of his published works.
Thank you, Mr. Highfield. I am honored.
Of course….visit another used bookstore! Rusty and I found ourselves heading northward and I remembered, “Hey! Ben’s having a 50% off sale! Let’s check it out!” So we did. Each used bookshop I visit I find that it totally reflects the owner. How can it not? [Yes, I wonder how my shop reflects me! What am I saying about myself? Curious.] The Country Bookshop [35 Mill Street, Plainfield, VT] is so Ben Koenig. And I mean that in the most respectful way. He has the best sense of humor and a broad knowledge of the used bookstore world – business and books. And knows his customers. I’ve always wanted to visit him in his world. Unfortunately he wasn’t in that day as Sundays are his day off. Mine, too. Lucky for him he has a great employee, Frances, who was minding the shop for him. We had a great conversation about books, the internet, and working in a used bookstore. I took advantage of his generous sale and left with a good stack of books to bring back here to the store. (Another way how we get inventory.) In fact, Ben, was the one who stated at a Brick & Mortar meeting that if you are going to have a sale why not make if fun for everyone. Make it 50%! So I do. And yes, it is a lot of fun. And a good way to move around inventory as well. When Ben is having a sale there are a zillion signs around proclaiming that one is going on. Here is one:It’s gets me how the sign states “It may seem too good but it’s true!” When I host a sale I get people coming up to me asking if ALL books are 50%. I guess it does seem too good to be true. But it is! That’s where the fun comes in. Seeing the joy over the book buyer’s face with the realization that yes, the books they have in their hand is indeed half off. The next day, Rusty and I hiked Buck Mountain. It’s been on our bucket list for years. We decided to tackle it as the first hike of the season. A wonderful climb with an amazing view of the lower Vermont Champlain Valley.
We’ve been very busy in the store! So many books have come in so most of the time it’s been going through them – SPS (sorting, pricing, shelving).
Slow and steady. Civil War to local authors and fiction and a lot of others sprinkled in. Come in and check them out. Surely something will catch your eye.
Last Friday – July 11, 2014 – was the Middlebury Arts Walk. The artist was Hannah Harding-Minton (SCAD ’05). Below is a sampling of her work keeping to our store’s theme of Words.
Hope your summer is going as great as ours. We’ve a great selection of good summer reads. Stop in and peruse or at least stop in to say hi! Enjoy!
So much for New Year resolutions! That’s all I’m going to say about that. The year has so far been very good to the store. I’ve been busy with SPS – sorting, pricing, shelving. That is what my time has been taken up with. No complaints here!
In between all my store busyness, I’ve also been thinking of what to write about. Have I covered all there is about owning a used bookstore? No. But I don’t want to nag about stuff. I don’t want to complain about things. I want to be positive and let go some of the weirdness. Some things are just not meant to be written about. Like what? Like how I sweep the floor every day, mop as needed – careful around the books piled on the floor. I like the vision of walking into the store and noticing a clean floor in the Big Yellow Room. The light reflecting in through the windows. It gives a cozy feel between the bookcases. To not forget to water the plants. That kind of stuff. Also rearranging shelves displaying books and nicknacks. To make it interesting to regular customers always looking for what’s new.
I’ve also given myself permission to read during open store hours. What??? Seriously that was hard to do. I always felt I had to appear busy doing something. I have no idea why. Maybe I just don’t want people to think I sit around all day. Well, I’m not sitting all the time. My in-the-store book I’m reading is George Orwell’s, Keep the Aspidistra Flying. More on the book later.
Currently I’ve been working on a literary tour of Addison County, Vermont. I did two guides while employed at the Addison County Chamber of Commerce – Mid Vermont Heritage Guide. Working on a take-off of them. It’s a lot of research and a lotta fun. Check it out. There is a link of the beginning stage at the top of the page. It is a work in progress. A lot of info is missing including links but they’ll be coming. And photos. Let me know what you think and what needs to be added. Suggestions are encouraged. Part of the process.
American Flatbread, Marble Works, Middlebury VT
Mail drop, Marble Works, Middlebury, VT
See the green post-it notes? The other day, my daughter, Hannah, just returned to the store from checking the mail and walked from the Big Yellow Room towards the Children’s Room when she let out a squeal, “We got a post-it, too!” What? She explained to me that she had seen a post-it note on Flatbread’s outdoor menu board and just discovered one in our store. Well, that has to mean something! Recognizing “@foundhello” was a twitter thing, I went online to check it out. Apparently someone goes around and puts post-it notes on random places for people to find and enjoy. And to encourage. Positive messages. So I grabbed my cell and took photos.
The other day I went to post a letter and as I approached the mail box I noted something green fluttering and lo and behold! another post-it note! Marble Works received three! At least that’s all I found.
I really like the message left in my store. I don’t know if it is a message meant for me but I am taking it to heart. I’m not going out without a good fight! I’ll continue working hard to keep this store open. I don’t want to take my inventory home and be an online used book store. So to whoever you are, thank you! It was a nice treat to find the notes and smile.
I love stuff like this.
Sitting here thinking of what I should write and nothing specific is coming to mind. So this post is going to be of random thoughts from this used bookstore lady.
This year for the Middlebury Arts Walk I have been celebrating bookmarks. It was interesting during the first walk I was asked by a customer, “What type of bookmarks are you featuring? For a website?” Huh? It took me a few moments for me to register what she was asking. “For books,” I replied. Then she got confused. I showed her one of the bookmarks and then she understood. Interesting. Come into the store and see the bookmarks I’m offering for sale. They are mostly made by Vermont artists. Only one isn’t.
My reason for choosing bookmarks is to highlight how there are so many cool things for books – actual books with pages one has to manually turn – as opposed to e-readers. One can purchase or make a cool cover but how about bookmarks? Book lights? Book covers? And when the book falls apart you can make art. Well, you could. You don’t have to but you could.
If you have been by the store lately you would have noticed that the vines on the outside of the building has been removed. I was somewhat torn about taking it down but I am very happy with the results. My signage stands out and as you walk by you can actually see my window displays. That excites me very much because that was one thing I missed moving from Main Street – that huge window. Now I have two facing the parking lot. I have to start planning my displays now. Before with the vines the windows were hard to see so I didn’t spend time on them nor changed them often.
Another change on this side of Marble Works is that the Farmers Market has moved over here. The area overlooking the Otter Creek is being re-sod for the new Riverfront Terrace and Walkway. To accommodate those coming to the Market I have been opening the store earlier at 9 a.m. Both Wednesday and Saturdays. It has been great fun for me. I’ve been welcoming even locals who didn’t know I moved the store two years ago. They thought I closed. Once again proving that one can do everything one can to promote a business (in this case) but not everyone is going to get it. Aside from telling each individual. I don’t mean to be rude. It’s just the way it is. I’m good with that.
The 50% sale went over very well the previous week. Once again it was an unadvertised sale. It allows me to thank customers – new and old – for their business as well as to turn over inventory. I have many new boxes to add to the store. Including ten boxes stored in my house and those are mighty fine books: world history, WWI, WWII, books on books and more. They are itching to come in. And I’m itching to get them out of the house.
Yesterday – Friday, August 9 – was National Book Lovers Day and all books were 10% off to celebrate. Again, a nice surprise for customers.
I’m in my quiet time of the store -2 pm-3:30. This is the time I close the store for a few minutes to check my mailbox and enjoy some fresh air. So that’s what I going to do. Later.
As the chalkboard sign indicates there is a 50% sale going on for all books. I call it a secret sale. In other words, you have to be walking in or by to note the sale as well as see the sign greeting you when you walk into the store. An appreciation sale for customers and to help move around inventory and, of course, to encourage new customers. The sale, which started on Monday, has been going very well. Fun to surprise customers especially the regulars.
Tomorrow should be fun with the Middlebury Farmers Market on this side of the Marble Works, the North Marble parking lot. It’s moving so the other side, the Riverfront Park, can get needed improvements. The Farmers Market will continue on this side for the rest of the season. I’m already planning on my lunch – Thai food – picking up veggies, and a Saturday favorite, chocolate croissant. How easy it will be to run out in between customers to make a purchase or two. Of course I’m more excited about the potential to reach more customers who otherwise might not even know this store exists because they only stay on that side of Marble Works. But have you tried the Thai food? Wouldn’t it be fun to sit on the marble block (see above), enjoying a good read (a used book, of course!), and chowing down on some good food?