Last week I flew to D.C., where my friend Anne DeVault picked me up and drove me back to her hometown of Charlottesville. I'd met Anne and her sister Laura at Paz & Associates workshop retreat this past September ("How to Open a Bookstore: The Business Essentials"), and we'd really hit it off. Many emails and bookselling events later, here I was on their doorstep hoping to help them in any way they'd let me. Sure, I sound very kind and good here--but consider what they were giving me. The hands-on experience of preparing to open a bookstore is very different from reading about the same experience. This week was invaluable, and I'm very grateful that these friends took me into their homes and bookstore.
The proprietors of Over the Moon Bookstore & Artisan Gallery (opening next month in Crozet, Virginia) are these wonderfully smart, funny, clever women who are really going to do well. They've been kind enough to let me look at their business plan, their bookstore layout plans, and more--I've been impressed with how well they already know their target market and how many connections they're making to the book and art worlds of their region. On my end, I was pretty pleased to become more familiar with a bookstore point of sale (POS) system, the long spreadsheets of recommended opening store inventory, how many choices must be made before bookshelves and fixtures can be built, and more. Living the professional lives of these enterprising sisters for just a week was really enlightening (and lots and lots of fun).
On the Saturday I arrived, May 15th, Laura & Anne invited some folks over to their freshly-painted-but-bookshelfless space in Crozet, a beautiful and hilly town about twenty miles from Charlottesville. Over and over I heard people expressing their excitement about the store, their happiness that someone had the guts to do this, and their belief that this place is going to be a hit.
Congratulations to my friends! Can't wait to visit the store once its doors are open.