Griffin Bay To Close For Two Weeks, Online Ordering Remains
Store To Close Feb. 14-March 2 For Vacation
By Nancy Larsen, Griffin Bay Bookstore
We at Griffin Bay Bookstore have you in our hearts as we turn our uplifted spirits to thoughts of deep appreciation for our customers, to the gratitude we hold for your encouragement and support, and to the joy we feel knowing that our shared love of books and reading has not just sustained us through a difficult and heartbreaking year, but offered moments of illumination, transformation, solace.
Our love letter to you, dear customers, this Valentine message of appreciation, is to let you know how the bookstore is faring, how we’ve done over the last few months, and to fill you in on our immediate plans.
First and foremost, Griffin Bay Bookstore would not have survived over the last year without your on-going encouragement and concrete support, without our island community’s dedication to shopping locally. We can say unequivocally that without your participation, help, contributions, we would not be here.
How We Are Faring
In a nutshell, Griffin Bay Bookstore continues to hold its own, treading water so to speak. Although sales have dropped more than 30% this year, the bookstore has been open on a regular, albeit reduced, schedule. Currently, two staff members are managing our day-to-day operations, keeping the store open Tuesday—Saturday, 10 a.m. —4 p.m. We’ve maintained this schedule, kept special orders as efficiently as possible, offered curbside pick-up, personal shopping appointments, deliveries, all geared to making it safe and easy for our customers to stay involved in the world of books, to shop physically and virtually. All of this has been possible not just from sales, but also from a combination of your direct financial contributions, a small grant, and some government support. This extra support has kept us afloat. Sales over the holidays gave us a boost. January and February ordinarily mean a slowing, a time for doing inventory and planning and preparation for a busier season to come.
Our staff has not had a break from the stress and strain of customer service during a pandemic, with all the extra steps required to ensure safe and sound shopping. We wish we could say that we’ve received only cooperation and goodwill from shoppers, but we cannot. On occasion, the staff has been at the receiving end of vigorous objections to our safety protocols, with some ire directed to personal attacks, others to accusations of inefficiency and poor service. The painful truth is: Our striving to offer optimum service has collided with the reality of interruptions in the supply chain and slower mail delivery; ordering and deliveries from publishers and distributors have sometimes bogged down and books and other special orders have sometimes been delayed.
We’ll be taking a breather for two weeks in order to give staff members a much-deserved break, closing the store during the last two weeks of February. This doesn’t mean you can’t order a book or other items, though.
Our website, e-mail and phone will still be checked regularly. The first week, we will do inventory, tidy up and rearrange the store in preparation for our high season, and then virtually attend the annual ABA booksellers conference where this year Barack Obama will present a special address to independent booksellers.
In the last week of February, we will take a much-needed vacation (although Laura will still keep tabs on orders and messages). This will be our last chance for a break for a year, as we are on skeleton staff and the store is busy each year from spring on until the end of the year. You are welcome to continue placing orders online during this time. You may choose to pick up your books in the store after we open up again, or we will be happy to ship them to you. If you leave phone or e-mail orders, we will fulfill those, too.
As the bookstore heads into spring after our February break, you can count on us to be here, count on us to be open four days a week, Tuesday—Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. We know everyone is awaiting the end of the pandemic; we’re all anxious to resume our beloved forays into town to meet friends and neighbors, anxious to browse and shop in favorite stores. Because our operations have streamlined, because we’ve been prudent financially, we see light and possibility ahead of us. Until then, Griffin Bay Bookstore staff will welcome you back into the store in March with renewed energy and dedication. We will be happy to see you, happy to bring you back into the world of literature and enchantment. As always, we thank you for placing your trust in us, for your continued interest in and support of an independent bookstore, your commitment to a well-known, much-loved Friday Harbor institution for over 40 years.