Sunday, December 5, 2010


  • I once saw a small shop's sign that read "Open when open, Closed when closed". Makes sense.
  • Once upon a time I changed our shop's opening time to accommodate an employee who was habitually late in opening up. It made no difference; she continued to be late.
  • When some supermarkets decided to stay open 24 hours, I was thrilled. Certainly I don't take full advantage of it, but the idea that I could market in my slippers and robe had a certain appeal.
  • Most little stores seem to open at 10 a.m. 
  • Mr. Bob looked askance at my habit of arriving to open the store on the dot. His way (and I'll admit, a far better one than mine) would have been to arrive a half hour before opening time.


  • We had certain clients who made a habit of coming in at 5 minutes before closing time and then shopping slowly. 
  • At least twice in my retail career I left the store unlocked all night......once I arrived to find a woman browsing in a darkened shop, not yet wondering why service was so poor.
  • In the early years, when the children were little, we used to close the store for the month of August, thereby proving to ourselves that customers helped to keep the merchandise dusted.
  • All too many independent establishments are finding it necessary to close their places of business permanently. It's such a loss and a blow to individuality.


  1. What a lovely post! Nostalgic, humorous, informative, and poignant.

  2. Just today in the bookstore where I work on occasional Sundays, two customers came in late and shopped slowly. And they both asked about books for which they neither had titles nor authors. Just topics. The other employee and I BOTH were able to find the books they were looking for. Neither of them bought the books.

  3. That's so funny about the habitually late employee. :)

    I love the signs (samplers?) shown here too.

    And I've told Mike a few times now about the trick you shared years ago for making your shop windows look like paned glass with the black tape. I love that. :)

    I wish I could have visited your shop back when you and Bob were the owners.

    And have you ever seen the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan movie You've Got Mail? In it, Meg Ryan's character is the owner of a small book shop, and the film depicts/handles that quite beautifully, I think.

  4. Yes, "You've Got Mail" described our situation perfectly. The store in the movie looked like our store (the interior and the merchandise). And the figures quoted in the script matched ours. I didn't think Meg Ryan fought hard enough to keep it, but then again she had Tom Hanks to run to.

  5. Jane...great post! I like to think all small book shops could be like yours. If u have any pictures of yours, i hope you find them and post them!!

  6. Great shots and story. A Non Y Mouse

  7. Susan writes: I remember you needle pointing the Open Closed sign..........long ago. Sometimes when I tell people about growing up in the bookstore they say, "just like You've Got Mail" I say yes except the part "dancing with my mother in the store." Funny I remember that part of the movie.

  8. It really sounds like a wonderful shop and career.

  9. What a lovely blog! Thanks for sharing your stories and pictures.