Save an Independent Bookstore from Closing its Doors!
By Rob Watts
Last year at this time, Colchester, Connecticut welcomed a new addition to its growing list of local commerce. That addition arrived in the form of a uniquely themed “mom and pop” bookstore. Actually, cast the phrase mom and pop from your mind, because this bookshop isn’t your typical dark and dusty, creaky floored hole in the wall establishment. That, and the fact that the store owners aren’t actually parents, unless you count their two cats at home. The bookstore is Books and Boos located at 514 Westchester Road in Colchester, Connecticut.
Last Fall, Books and Boos co-owners, and husband and wife team Jason and Stacey Harris bravely left the comforts of their day jobs and set out to fulfill their dream of owning their own bookstore. They took business classes, sought out a location in their hometown and put forth their desire to bring their dream to fruition. Countless hours were spent preparing their location for the opening day. Family and friends pitched in however they could, and Stacey Harris spent many a late evening painting the interior while Jason added an abundance of miles to his vehicle collecting book donations and purchasing shelving units and store necessities. Finally it all came together, and on November 20, 2012, Books and Boos opened its doors.
Not your typical bookstore, Books and Boos offers a variety of pre-enjoyed books as well as new books written by local New England Authors. Although the “boos” in the name symbolizes the owner’s love for the horror genre, just about every genre of writing and culture can be found in their little shop. From Young Adult to Science Fiction. From Romance to Non Fiction, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for, along with a newly discovered gem which you might stumble upon during your browsing. There is free parking, complimentary coffee and Wi-Fi offered to make you feel right at home.
Unfortunately, the store has found itself in dire straits. With a tepid economy and a location that’s proven to be so-so as far as customer traffic is concerned, the Harris’ are seeking out potential new locations in the area which will potentially produce increased foot traffic through their doors, while still providing book lovers with a friendly and warm atmosphere they’ve come to expect. They have started an indie go go campaign to help alleviate some of the financial burdens they’ve endured while keeping the shop open during their first year. In-short; the store owners are reaching out for our help. The funds raised are going towards keeping their rent and utilities paid while implementing their 2014 strategy of securing a larger space and growing their bookstore brand for many years to come.
It’s not often that I solicit favors such as these, but in this case it’s very justified. As a small business owner myself, I am well-aware of the many pitfalls an independent business faces on a daily basis. There are challenges and disappointments around every corner. It’s passion, fortitude and drive that keeps us from giving up. These are very small business-unfriendly times that we are living in. We are living in a day and age where large corporations are favored over good hearted independent businesses who exist to contribute to the human experience, rather than siphon from it. Indie business owners don’t walk into the workplace, punch in their time card and collect a check at the end of the week, with health and retirement benefits taken care of as well. We make that happen ourselves. When we don’t show up and create the work we do, we don’t make a living. It’s that simple. Please give that some thought the next time you walk into one of your favorite small businesses. They survive on your return business and dedication.
In summation, I’m asking you to consider a donation to a business that I feel very strongly about. Books and Boos is a bookstore owned by two of the nicest people you’d ever hope to meet. They are community friendly, offering in-store events free to the public. They offer independently-published authors shelf space, while the big brick and mortar bookstores will turn their backs on them. They take part in many community events in their town and the surrounding area. They will even go far and beyond to search out a specific title for you, even if it’s not in their immediate inventory. All this at low-low prices for you. So please take a moment to visit their IndieGoGo Campaign page and consider donating as much or as little as you can spare. It will all go a long way towards keeping a small business of significance afloat throughout these tough times.