Tuesday, July 15, 2014

“Our Bookstore”

When we first opened we were frankly amazed at the local welcome. Granted it's a pretty bookish part of the world, but it was still a wonderful thing to be treated as if we were coming to the literary rescue of the neighborhood.

The incident that really highlighted our place in the community was a cataclysmic accident that happened in our second year: an SUV in a handicapped parking spot drove through the windows of the recently opened Cafe Zing. It was a Saturday and there had been a typically long cafe line (even in its earliest days!) that had just worked its way through. Ten minutes earlier and it would've been a much more horrible calamity. As it was three people got seriously hurt, the big solid Zing counter was knocked some 30 degrees askew and the front of the store was stove in. The weirdest part of it was that Tag's next door had their Saturday popcorn machine going - so people were calmly looking over this scene of devastation while calmly munching popcorn. It was also early in the ubiquity of folks holding up their phones to take pictures. Surreal.

The neighborhood reaction was surprising. A Starbucks that we used to frequent (before Zing opened) sent food and drinks over, even though Zing was technically competition. A local pizza place sent stuff. People kept coming in and saying, "I'm not getting anything right now but I wanted to make sure you folks were staying open." Their outpouring of concern over "Our bookstore" was a beautiful thing, and really brought home the fact that we were now an integral part of what turns out to be a unique little part of the world.

Gary Cowan

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