Returning to the Blog …

Posted 9 April 2013 by

Time has certainly gotten the best of my intentions to continue writing about the new bookstore, bookselling, great books and more …

A progress report, in brief: It has been 18 months since we opened our second location in Redondo Beach (and since the last entry to this blog). In that time, both Maryelizabeth and I have been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work that two stores demand. The math is not what you might think. It is not just a matter of doubling the number of hours of work and effort, although there is that too. It is that it turns out that the second store is a brand new business. A start-up. Who knew?

Since the San Diego store was 18 years old (at the time the Redondo Beach store opened), we (wrongfully) assumed that if we built a second store, “they would come.” We have an international reputation, as well as a popular website. Didn’t everyone know that we were opening our doors? Weren’t they waiting patiently for a Los Angeles location? It turns out that the answer is only a partial ‘yes.’ There certainly have been a lot of loyal MG followers and we happily introduced them to the new store.

As with any new business, getting the word out is always a challenge. And even if people know about us, making our store a frequent destination takes time. But for those that do drive into our parking lot and venture in, we are reminded that we are doing the right thing. We are always gratified to hear the positive comments and learn that our new customers can’t wait to come back.

As part of our transition, we also trained new staff, learned about our new space, created new procedures, and … well, everything was new! This was the part we failed to consider. It has been a lot of work, but it has also been very rewarding. Our new staff is amazing. They are well-read, personable, and bursting with enthusiasm. We have all learned a lot from them.

Another thing we learned was how much having two stores would work to our benefit. We are able to split some of the expenses between two stores, transfer inventory to reduce orders and returns, offer more signed titles and two options for author events. We also benefited from 18 years of experience and from the support of our publishing partners and friends.

In May I will be part of a BEA panel talking about adding a second store. These are some of the thoughts I will share.

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