Updated: Mar 4, 2021
My first Winter Institute - the American Booksellers Association yearly educational conference. It was four, jam-packed days meeting over 800 booksellers from around the country, seeing more new books than I ever have before, hearing new and well-known authors share their stories, touring indie bookstores and learning so much about the book-selling industry. It was heaven.
It was also an eye-opening, disappointing, inspiring, and plan-shifting experience. I participated in day-long workshop on how to open a new bookstore. The presenters provided a wealth of information to about 40 people in various phases of opening a bookstore. During a 30-minute one-on-one session, I shared my vision Leopard Print Books including the plans to locate in the Charles Lee Mansion, and the community gathering center plans, all the funky, cool aspects of being in the historic lumber baron mansion, and space that was home to Rosemary Degesero's leopard. I also explained my concerns - locating on the east side of Saginaw, getting customers to come downtown anytime let alone at night for events, lack of foot traffic and other retail businesses nearby, limited space for events, which I need to pull people in, etc. During this discussion, he mentioned something about families entering with strollers and I felt like I had been smacked along side the head.
Oh, S T R O L L E R S.
A bookstore in the basement. Steps. Families or single parents with children trying to maneuver up and down stairs - not an easy task. And, one that would likely hinder or deter people from coming or returning. With the above detriments, I realized I couldn't afford one more thing - and something as big as this - giving parents and kids a reason not to make the trip to the bookstore. And, so the dream of being located at the Lee and the tie to Chichu the leopard ended.
Where next? We'll have to see what develops.