Five Strikes and Counting
We're still up to bat and having a good season!
Our last note was on the occasion of our opening nearly two months ago. Life has been frenetic since then - challenging, but gratifying. Learning the business and running the business has consumed our days and nights. The shop has filled with interesting people matching the interesting books that surround them. Lots of compliments on the space as well as the selection. Bottom-line - a success! The five strikes against us in our opening note - (1) book readership being generally down; (2) the big-box stores with their vast inventories and attractive pricing; (3) the on-line behemoth with its even vaster inventories and rock-bottom pricing; (4) the steady trickle to e-reading; and, (5) the economy being still in the doldrums - seem not to have been called against us yet. Here in the islands and the northwoods it seems a good book is still a great companion. The nearest big-box is a couple of hours away. It's too late to order on-line. E-reading devices might not mix so well with sand, breaking waves, sailboats, kayaks, canoes, back-country trails, campfires, bicycle packs, rustic cabins and B & B's. And, a book is still a bargain in any economic circumstances - hour after hour of reading pleasure at pennies per hour. But, the umpire is still out! So much for that metaphor!
We had a nice encounter last week. We had driven to Ely, Minnesota to drop our 12-year-old grandson for a two-week adventure in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. During a last-minute outfitting stop at Piragi's, a couple approached us to say they'd very much enjoyed our store. Surprised and pleased to be recognized, we felt a bit star-struck. Turns out that they had recognized not us, but our miniature husky, Kia, who serves as the store mascot. She's become the real celebrity notwithstanding her shy demeanor!
We've had some notable visitors over the summer including David Wroblewski (The Story of Edgar Sawtelle), Michael Perry (Population 485, Truck, Coop), Thomas Peacock (Ojibwe: Waasa Inaabidaa, The Four Hills of Life : Ojibway Wisdom), Dennis McCann (Badger Boneyards), Howard Paap (A Northern Land, Raspberry River), Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, and many others. Most notable, however, have been our day-to-day customers with stories of their visits to the islands and northwoods; their suggestions of titles that might be of interest to our clientele; and, their appreciation of good books in "a clean well-lighted place".