Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jason's Morning at the Urban Ecology Center--A Fascinating Example of Why We Do Offsites

If you read our email newsletter, you know that we are participating in the Eat Local Challenge. Jason spent last Saturday morning at the UEC selling books on eating local, environmental issues, farm to table cooking, and the like, while I hosted our events with Denise Du Vernay and Ted St. Mane.

We brought in no extra books for the event, aside from stocking up on Plenty: Eating Local on the 100-Mile Diet, which is the subject of the Eat Local Challenge discussion group at the UEC on September 14th, at 7 PM. But putting together books from our green section, cooking, nature, current events, and even business (including of course, choice second-hand titles) made a formidable spread, and we got many compliments.

"You really carry all these great books in your store?"

That was often followed by, "What store are you?"

And then came "Where is that?"

With a capper of"There's still a bookstore on Downer Avenue?"

When I do an offsite downtown or in an outlying suburb, I'm not surprised to hear this. This is part of the idea of these offsites--tell customers about our store and maybe they'll visit. A certain amount of folks who visit are going to love the store and come back. Well, you hope.

We get a lot of press, and do a decent amount of advertising, but shockingly enough, there are booklovers out there that neither read a newspaper or a free weekly, and don't listen to public radio. (And note to all the ad reps, I'm still not going to advertise on commercial radio or television--we're just too niche a business to make the numbers work).

But the Urban Ecology Center is 12 blocks from our store! Click here for the map. And surely they read papers and listen to public radio. But Jason didn't hear this once, but at least three times.

I'm not upset by this; in fact, I see this as a very positive development. There's a lot more market penetration for us locally.

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