Monday, March 16, 2009

An Updated Timeline for the Schwartz Bookshops on Downer and Shorewood

I know all our publicity said that all the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops would close on March 31st. But after we thought about it, we realized it would be better to close the Downer Avenue bookshop earlier, so that we could sooner make the transition to Boswell Book Company. Maybe we could even open when the Shorewood shop closes on March 31st...

With that in mind, Downer Avenue's last day of business is scheduled for Saturday, March 21st. Could things change? Of course they could, but this seems quite firm at the moment. An inventory is scheduled for Sunday, and on Monday, I hope to be completing the purchase of the assets.

The bad news is that it takes a week to paint a store that big with a ceiling that complicated. Look up! It's far more interesting than a dropped ceiling, but oh those pipes and ductwork. The good news is that we are going to be using a low VOC paint--did you know VOC stands for "volatile organic compounds"? I didn't. In fact, I called it "Low VOD."

Here's another environmental plus. We're going to test biodegradable plastic bags, with 15% post-consumer content. They are way more expensive than our previous plastic bags (about 25 cents per bag, and that's without the imprinting of our store name) and we'll probably only offer them free with a purchase above a certain amount. If you respond enthusiastically, we'll buy more. If enthusiasm (and sales) are muted, we'll have to go to something cheaper.

Our first set of bags, both paper and plastic, will be from ABA's Indie Bound program. Though we're using the Boswell icon, I haven't exactly decided on a typeface for a bag. I do know that like the store itself, we're going to be fluid and flexible. Our logo today, though grounded in Boswell, may not look like the logo tomorrow. So we've bought 1000 started bags while we (OK, I, but certainly with lots of help from my fellow booksellers) make a decision.

Because we will not have everything in place right away, we are scheduling a soft opening for early April. Festivities don't start till the first week of May. In fact, I'm still furiously scheduling events. Look for updates here.

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