I resigned from B&N two weeks ago.
To put it simply, you can take the girl out of the indie bookstore but you can't take the indie bookstore out of the girl.
And it was high time I kicked my own butt into gear and got back to where I belong.
The decision to walk away from a weekly paycheck into voluntary unemployment was not a difficult one to make. I have no regrets.
I've dreamed of running my own bookstore and I've spent my ten post-college-graduation years pursuing the required hands-on knowledge in order to accomplish this goal. I've worked the bookfloor, the receiving room, the information desk, cashwrap. I've paid attention to booksellers with twenty years experience, assistant and general managers, CEOs and CFOs, and I've made sure to ask questions of all of them. I've studied catalogs, sales trends, the community, its readers, and its needs. I've watched the ebook trend like a hawk and asked for hands-on training. I've networked, read, and studied. It is high time I take those experiences and put them to work.
Cleveland already has a thriving indie bookstore community but there are still areas of great opportunity, with existing local government and shopowner support. There are readers out there looking for a community bookstore that can bring their favorite authors, support classrooms and non-profits, supply storytimes for little ones and bookclubs for all ages. There are empty storefronts dying for brightly colored displays, local businesses looking for networking partners, and an upcoming holiday season that could signal an economic turnaround.
And I have a group of former indie booksellers who are dying to get back in the biz as much as I am.
I have the experience to open my own store. I have the staff waiting on a call. I have friends and family who fully support the dream. Through Twitter, I have strangers who have become cheerleaders. I don't have the money – yet. But I know who to go to in order to figure that part out. I'm going to join the ABA, hopefully get to Wi7, and scrounge up the money to head to a Paz & Associates workshop. I have other contacts who are offering their professional advice, contacts, and full support. And I have people already asking if I'm looking for a business partner.
I have all of the parts for a fully functioning, financially successful, world-class bookstore.
I just have to put it all together.
I welcome the challenge.