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bookstores and a long tale

updated wed 16 dec 98


Thonas C. Curran on tue 15 dec 98

re: Bookstores. You're right! We should all be supporting the
independent stores, and that goes for all the shops which keep our
society from being one big chain superstore. I don't think I am being
self serving in talking about my husband's experience as a train and
model store owner (since I doubt too many out there in cyber clayland
have time for that hobby), but it's been an interesting 5 1/2 years for
him (and me). He often says the place is like the bar on "Cheers" - a
gathering place for RR buffs and model builders. They all are delighted
to have a shop which will special order, do repairs, give advice, lend a
willing ear, etc., and my husband even advises in trust and legal
matters from his former life in banking! The only problem (esp. in a
small city of 15,000) is that the store really makes no money. Why?
Because so many of those who love to come in for a RR magazine or a
dollar item or just a chat also love to brag about the super bargain
they have just found via mail order! Then there are those who buy a
real cheapie RR set at Christmas at a local K-Mart or somewhere and
expect the train store to repair it for a song. It's a rough retail
world for the independents, and that includes the art supply stores,
hardware stores and the potters as well as the bookstores. OK, so you
do it for the love of, books, RRs or whathaveyou. However, you
can't do it forever without customers who buy. So...we should all put
our money where our mouth is. (I know I am guilty of using the local
art supply store for odds and ends rather than major purchases, but one
thing I have done is to purchase gift certificates for family and
friends from that art supply store.)
This has been a preachy note, but as a potter and an emergency
substitute clerk at the RR shop, I have seen an awful lot which leads me
to spread the word about this problem. So when you are thinking about
last minute gifts, what about a gift certificate from a local shop of
some kind or a book from that local bookstore or some brushes and paints
for the young artist's stocking? Actually, it's only enlightened self
interest, as a lot of the people who own bookstores and art supply
stores are also the ones who come in and buy your pottery rather than a
Wal-Mart set of dishes.
Sorry, I got carried away after only 3 days of retailing. Hope we all
get our orders done in time to relax for the holidays.!
Carolyn in Hometown USA (so designated in 1946 by Look Magazine)