Two years ago today...
I was giving an interview to a reporter from ABC12 who had heard of our struggles and took it upon herself to pitch the story to her station. I had spoken with a business professional about the next step in my business. I didn't know it at the time, but he was an investor and he thought I wanted money from him. I didn't. I just wanted guidance. What I got was a wake up call. Basically my business had gone under and I didn't even know it yet. I left that meeting devastated but by the time I made it back to the book store I was determined. My family had worked way too hard to support me and my dreams for me to go back and tell them I'd failed in the end. I came up with the idea to turn my end of year Thank You sale into an SOS sale and launched project Save our Store with a goal to sell 20,000 books for $1.00 and get out from under our accumulated debt. The community pulled together and bought a ton of books. We didn't sell the 20,000 books but we did sell enough to keep digging.
Last year, we posted another 20,000 book goal and brought out aaaaallllll the books at once. We wanted to finally put in the coffee shop to honor my mom who had put so much work and effort into the bookstore and had wanted to see the coffee shop come to life so badly because that was my dad's original dream. It turned out to be the worst Christmas sale we had ever had. The store was messy. I was depressed facing the first Christmas without my mother and quite frankly I was overwhelmed. I asked for feedback and man did I get it. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Thank you all for the Good. It overwhelmed the Bad and the Ugly. It sustained me and made me more determined than ever to do this thing. Thank you for the bad. It made me take a good look at things and make some significant changes. The ugly I just let go of. Needless to say, taking significant time off to be with my mom and then having a horrible December put us behind again. Not as bad as before but bad enough to have me sweating.
This year has been about reinventing as a single owner business, digging deep, and preserving the family legacy we started with. I set a 20,000 book goal this year and took a leap of faith by taking a large family for Christmas. Black Friday was awesome, but from then on it was looking pretty bleak. Our numbers were on pace to match or barely exceed last year and our donations for our family were trickling in rather slowly. It was beginning to look like this would be our last dollar sale and I was hoping we could survive two bad Christmas's in a row. Then this weekend happened. Donations poured in, books flew out. I was pretty much busy open to close Friday through Sunday and even got out late a couple times because there were still shoppers at closing time. So thank you. Thank you for believing in me when we struggled through the expansion. Thank you for saving me when we struggled after the expansion. Thank you for holding me up when I struggled after losing my mom. If it stays like it was this weekend than this is the year we make it. We can finally close the chapter on all of our struggles and take a deep breath. I'm honored to be a part of this community and look forward to the future and being able to continue to give back and support my community as much as you all have given to and supported me.
YOU are R&B Used Books.
Owner, R&B Used Books