Book Store Flies

April 27, 2009

After the screening of The Garden on Saturday night, we stopped at a used bookstore around the corner and I bought a book about long-distance cycling for $4.  This was a traditional used book-store with the typical book-store-flies.  You know the ones.  They love books.  They love thinking and talking and sharing opinions.  They wear mostly black.

Well this group was no exception and when I rounded the corner to pay for my book, I asked, “Who wants my money?” and they immediately broke into a round of quips about who would like to take my money and why.  Witty folks.

Then, one girl standing beside me asked if I’d like to see a real “sea-bug” and as I pulled out my dollars I answered, “Well, I grew up on an island, so it may not gross me out.”  “Which island?” another book-store-fly asked.  “Newfoundland.”

A chorus of “ooohs” met my ears followed by a discussion about where it is and which time zone it uses.  Cute.

They proceeded to ask me questions about the province: how many people, how cold, etc.  They seemed genuinely interested.  One guy told me that I was the first Newfoundlander that he’d ever met.  So I curtsied.

After entertaining a few of their questions, I raised my hand, waved and said, “Good night, y’all!”

I bet that kept them quipping for a while.

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JUNE JUNE JUNE

June 11, 2008

In their recent newsletter, the kids at That Yarn Store posted a list of celebratory dates in June

June 13 Blame Someone Else Day
June 13 Sewing Machine Day
June 17 Eat Your Vegetables Day
June 17 World Juggler’s Day
June 18 Go Fishing Day
June 18 International Panic Day
June 18 National Splurge Day
June 19 World Sauntering Day
June 20 Ice Cream Soda Day
June 21 Finally Summer Day
June 21 Go Skate Day
June 21 National Hollerin’ Contest Day
June 22 National Chocolate Eclair Day
June 23 National Pink Day
June 23 Take Your Dog to Work Day
June 24 Swim a Lap Day
June 25 Log Cabin Day
June 25 National Catfish Day

The kids over at Holiday Insights can confirm most of these.

Speaking of small businesses, if you’re looking for yarn or a place to teach you to knit, forget Target, shop at that yarn store over in Eagle Rock. What’s the name of that place again?

The thing is, they seem very near to closing.  They seem to understand market economy theory, just not how to market themselves. They appear to be trying to market themselves in a loosey goosey sort of way with their irregular hours and down home website. But if they want to compete with the big boxes, they’ve got to get up to speed with what today’s consumer wants and expects. In podunk Kansas, I’m sure that they’d have their finger on what their local consumer wants and expects. It’d be pretty obvious and most small business owners would understand it tacitly, being a direct part of the marketplace themselves. But in Los Angeles, the marketplace is one of the most cosmopolitan cultures in North America! You can’t assume you know what your market is going to need, want or expect. So you HAVE TO assume the worst. You have to assume that they want the box store feel. So how does a small business in a little midwest niche of Los Angeles compete with box stores? Well, among other things, by having regular hours. That Yarn Store is well-located. It has a big sign and seemingly lots of neighbourhood outreach. But they have to be able to reach out on many different levels: to the consumer who appreciates local and to the consumer who wants convenience, organization, and easy-to-remember hours. Consumers who know that Target is open 9 am to 9 pm don’t want to have to check That Yarn Store’s website before they leave their apartment to know what their hours are. Their hours should be easy to remember.

Well that’s the end of my rant, here’s a link to their rant about why they might have to close their doors soon. I hope they don’t. I have several friends who knit.

And here’s their blog.