My vision…

This is a very romantic picture of being in business, I realize. But they say that one should envision things as you wish them be, as if they were already as such. This is how I want my dream to unfold…

I get the girls off to school then arrive at the shop early in the morning. My posted opening hours are not until a bit later – we focus on the mid-morning coffee break crowd on week days. I put on a pot of coffee and take down the CLOSED sign, but do not post the OPEN yet. I like having some time to get started in the day, but welcome a few regular passers-by to stop in for a cup ‘o java with a leisurely read of their morning paper. They know that they can chance a stop-in depending upon how my morning goes getting the girls off to school, and whether I got an early morning run in, etc.

The full menu is not yet available, it’s your basic coffee & a biscuit/muffin. After the paper and perhaps a chat with one or two early morning customers, I set up shop for the day: Arranging new displays, tidying, rearranging things that had been pulled in for closing/cleaning, freshening things up. Then I post the OPEN sign, turn up more lights, open windows, the front door, and while I wait for the first official customers of the mid-morning rush, I write, or scrapbook. Perhaps I blog or tweet something of interest to draw new people in, and customers back to the store.

My day-time staff arrives – the technical term I suppose would be Barrista – they handle the beverage & food service, while I manage the book-swapping. After the morning coffee hour crowd, we have our parents & tots in for story hour and book-swaps. They meet friends and chat while children are entertained and drawn into the children’s book corner. This continues throughout the day.

Then there’s the lunch rush for light meals, and so on. The people come in fits & starts, with lulls in between when the only patrons are the individuals who choose to sit for hours through it all, relaxing with coffee over a good book, logging in on their laptops and blackberries with our WIFI, watching the rushes of people come and go.

Mid-afternooon the girlies arrive off of their school bus. They go to the back room to drop their book bags, and have a snack at the coffee bar. They participate in an activity or impromptu storytime in the children’s section, often initiating a craft with the little ones on play dates. Then they return to the back room to spend half an hour on homework, or perhaps practice piano on their little keyboard we’ve brought in from home. They help me with displays and choosing blogging topics for children.

We head home for supper, leaving the shop in the charge of one of my staff, who will handle the quiet (or lively, depending upon the evening) crowd of book-swappers over supper hour(s).

Some evenings I return to the shop after the girlies are ready for bed. I host swap nights with themes. I invite local authors, poets and musicians for readings, etc. I support local fundraisers with events in the shop. In the evenings, lights are turned down and lamps lit throughout the shop for reading light. In little nooks and corners individuals and pairs are seated reading or chatting quietly about their selections.

A lively crowd discusses a book club selection in the coffee shop seating area, near a fireplace. Gift-shoppers purchase their loved ones’ favourite children’s books. The atmosphere is warm and cozy, but not cluttered. The walls are lined with dark wooden bookshelves, and stand-alone units that create the little reading nooks. Wherever there is wall space, there is local artwork, available to purchase, from up & coming local artists. Tables have displays or fresh flowers on them. There are even some chess boards, playing cards and classic board games to be pulled out in the evenings when no special events are planned.

I see the shop as my home away from home, possibly with a little “backyard” where the girls can play in the summertime. It’s my personal library that I always wanted to have in my home, only I can feel better about letting books go, and no longer hoarding the piles of books I’ve already read.

Weekends the shop will be run by one of my staff. Perhaps one day I’ll have a manager to handle it all. When I choose to go in on weekends, it feels like a place I can retreat to. I rarely feel that my work is a chore.

I offer up my shop on slow nights for meetings. Community groups choose to meet and organize their efforts there. As a store owner and community member, I support a variety of causes and get involved with some political activism as I choose. It’s a good life, where I can feel at home, at peace and balanced.

About Trish

family legacy curator, social justice advocate, blogger, amateur photographer, reader, cyclist, runner & swimmer, mom of two