Friday, March 06, 2009

Viroqua Store Report Month #1

We have made it through the first month since opening our new Viroqua store. It has been an absolutely magickal ride so far. The customers have been a real slice of the Wisconsin countryside, with the older community really representing, forcing us daily to dig through our stacks in search of old and obscures tomes from childhoods. The free kids books we offer all the young'ins have been very effective in quieting the young minds who may be somewhat overwhelmed by the cavernous alleyway of books. The Leather chair is a favorite resting spot for young and old, and the conversations blow my mind daily.

Vernon County may indeed be the 3rd poorest County in the state, but the level of intellectual prowess exhibited in the store makes me think I live in a community of ascetics living in caves in the hills, pusuing the deepest of the esoteric sea in buckets full of words.

The books on The Black Hawk War, Wisconsin History, and Native American Studies move faster than we can order new ones. It's interesting to see the price of some of these books raise themselves overnight on the web due to us buying a copy here and there. The time spent searching the dusty corners of the internets for certain books has been occupying most of my time most days, but I have realized that I am nearing my 10,000th hour of this kind of madness, and the benefits in time saved are very real.

We had our first meeting of our Book Club, and a lively discussion was had by all. We are reading and discussing 2012, by Daniel Pinchbeck. Our Econoclast wizard friend, Jerome McGeorge is facilitating the meetings, which is a treat in itself. We have even contacted Daniel and asked him to come and speak to the Viroqua community. Cross your fingers.

We need more space. It has been very difficult to keep everyone happy, with our limited retail space. Every day we bring in new boxes of books which people had requested. We are hoping we can expand into the next stroefront, and connect the to with a custom BookArch© cut into the connecting wall. The operators of the most excellent space we are in wish to promote a diversity of businesses, and are counciling the old addage of not getting too big too fast. Wise words and ideals. The secret egenda is just to be closer to Artos Bakery, to more easily smell the fragrent blessed breads and pies coming from their nearby ovens.

We also have a first class high school apprentice from Youth Initiative High Schoo. Hannah is a future Book Store owner, so she tells us, and her enthusiasm and hard work wil make her dream come true for sure. It's great to have the help, and more importantly nice to train someone young in this dying practice of recycling old tomes.

Today we are having a visitor from Madison bringing some of his olf Theological texts as a donation. We spoke for an hour on the phone last night, and he sounds like a fascinating man. He wanted to know if he could spend some time writing poetry in our store. I said by all means YES. He's 75 years old, and a former man of the Cloth. He said something that really struck me, The the Church has a responsibility to preserve and promote and protect the Written Word.
On a similar note, we had a church in La Crosse call us about buying their library.

We're learning the ins and outs of buying books on the fly, with a store full of browsers, from anyone who may wander in. Sometimes it is very hard to find common ground, but often it goes flawlessly, with both parties happy with the trade. We try to encourage trades for credit, and sometimes we give both, but folks seem to need cash these days, and i hope we can continue to offer this service, without having to buy another building to store it all.

We made a very auspicious arrangement with the local Biodynamic Agriculture Group to help sell a slew of Organic Farming books they have been selling at conferences and such. It is the kind of brand new stock we cannot really afford to puchase new, and the books are the perfect kind of material for our area, and we will have them in the store next week. Where we put them, and which section has to retire back to Viola is another matter.....

Spring is showing it;s tips through the clouds and retreating snow. It feels nice to imagine opening the window again and tearing off the plastic winter sweaters they all wear. Half of Viola seems to be for sale, starting with the bar next door, which never recovered from the flood. Anyone want to open an organic coffeehouse with pancakes and tempeh ruebens?

The sun is coming up, so i must get to work ...



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