Monday, January 24, 2011

Building a Bookshop — waiting by the phone

I recently bought Patience and Fortitude, Nicholas Basbanes' book about bookselling, although I haven't read it yet. It looks like I'm going to need both virtues to open my book store.

I've spent all of my non-library days for the past couple of weeks taking steps to start a bricks-and-mortar business. I got a tax ID number and opened a bank account, paid the first month's rent and started turning on utilities. I admit I was in a bit of a hurry once I made the decision to open a store, because I wanted to accept some inventory (with more possibly coming this weekend) and buy furnishings, and because I needed the address to write on all my official paperwork. You see, you need a physical address to open accounts. And you need those accounts to rent the place... well, it all worked out.

My friends have been very supportive and people are starting to ask me when the store will open. I told them mid-February, but that was optimistic. I need to get shelving, which is the biggest intimidation for me because I have no idea how much it will cost. I'm still shopping, but I can't set up shelves until the carpet is down. I can't install carpet until the walls are painted. And I can't paint until the owner makes some repairs. I'm also still working out details with the lease; yes, I'm already in the place, but I'm dealing with multiple levels of people, not just the owner. Since I'm one of those people who actually reads every word, I tend to find problems and negotiation has been a challenge.

So, I tried to run errands today as I waited for phone calls. I need patience, because I have to depend on other people who aren't constrained to my schedule. And I need fortitude, because this kind of investment is scary, but it's an investment in the future. Let me add wisdom, and prayers, to that list.


George Taylor said...

What about Craigslist for the shelves? They are VERY expensive! Will you offer wifi? Coffee?

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the idea, George. I'll check out Craigslist and the thrift store. Everybody is asking about coffee! I might, but I don't really have the facilities for it. Maybe just on special days. Yes, I'm probably going to have wi-fi. Will you e-mail me about your wi-fi-shopping experience? Will you come all the way back here to look at books?