Woman Entrepreneur Plans to Bring Back the Neighborhood Bookstore

If you are new to this blog – my wife Christine sells books online, plans to open a ‘brick and mortar’ bookstore, and had her dreams dashed only to find out last week that her plan has legs and may even run. So the bookstore dream is back on and I am going to tell you more today.

Christine is focusing on setting up her new ‘bricks and mortar’ bookstore, so I am posting on her behalf (I will be doing all of the posting during this process). I’m going to give you our preliminary plans, thoughts, and feelings about our next entrepreneurial journey. We are going to keep posting as this business progresses so please subscribe to this feed if you want to keep track of our entrepreneurial venture in real time.

Keep in mind that this blog is a collage of personal-development and entrepreneurial stories. These are stories about our lifelong pursuit of personal freedom. We’d love to have you join us on our journey… So come back often.

We are putting together a basic business plan…

Very basic, we don’t need any venture capital, so we don’t need a fancy business plan. Based on what we know right now, we can fund the entire startup ourselves.

We are looking at our startup costs, operating expenses, and projected sales once the store is established.

People are asking me – Why do you want a store? Why don’t you just get some warehouse space and go exclusively internet? Why all the overhead of running a store? What kind of sales can a bookstore generate anyway?

I posed these questions to Christine yesterday and these are her responses:

Q: Why do you want a ‘bricks and mortar’ bookstore?

Christine: A lot of it is ego driven. I’ve always wanted to own a bookstore. I want to be a visible part of the local business community and I love books. I am obsessed with books and the book business. Another big reason is because people say ‘you can’t make money in the book business.’ That’s bunk. Even with Wal-Mart, Target, Barnes and Noble, and the internet, I believe people love bookstores… when they are done right. I plan to present my store in a fresh new way. I’m planning to bring back the neighborhood bookstore. I’m out to prove you can make money in the retail book business. That’s my story and I absolutely believe I can do it.

Q: Why don’t you just get some warehouse space and go exclusively internet?

Christine: What does that save me and what do I gain? If I want to expand my business I need somewhere to expand – and why not a bookstore? The deal I’m getting per square foot is nearly the same as a warehouse spot. If I don’t operate a store and I go exclusively internet, I’ll still need to buy, build, or rent space to expand. Really… I think… why wouldn’t I want the bookstore? It’s the perfect way to expand.

Q: What about the extra overhead of running a store?

Christine: I suppose there will be some added overhead to a retail store – a few more employee hours and the initial cost of fixtures and build-out – but the walk-in traffic should easily pay for that. The store is on the busiest road in Scott County and I will be the first bookstore in Scott County. I figure I can cover the added overhead if I only do $500.00 per day in in-store sales. That shouldn’t be a problem.

Q: What kind of sales can a bookstore generate anyway?

Christine: I’m not sure yet. But I’ll tell you what I do know. I sell $110,000 dollars in books and media annually on the internet from a 500 sq ft space in my basement, while working about 4 hours a day.

Some people have written and asked – but how profitable are those sales? As anyone who owns their own business knows – the benefits of owning a business go far beyond the amount you pay taxes on. I sat down and figured it out one day… with all the hard and soft benefits, it is equivalent to making 40K in a traditional job. But remember I’m home all day, and I work about 20 hours a week, so maybe it’s more like 80K in a traditional job.

Now back to the projected sales of my new store – imagine I have 5x the space and 4x the inventory and apply 4x the labor? I’d guess – conservatively – I could double the internet business and add about $500.00 a day in in-store business. That works out to about 400K annually. Again, I believe that’s conservative, and having employees should allow me more time to focus on increasing sales.

– end of Q&A

So there you have it folks – Christine – Bringing Back the Neighborhood Bookstore. Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted every step of the way. It’s gonna be a fun spring and summer.

8 thoughts on “Woman Entrepreneur Plans to Bring Back the Neighborhood Bookstore”

  1. Although I buy books online, nothing compares to the pleasure of going into a bookstore, browsing through all those books, looking at the shelves… and the smell is fantastic! Besides, when I buy online, I look only for specific books I want, while in a bookstore I look at everything and I usually end up by buying two-three additional books, which I discovered on the spot.

    Good luck with your store!

  2. Congratulations!

    I’ve always thought that owning a book store (in particular a used book store, for me) would be one of the greatest jobs. It’s also very hard to make it so I’m glad that your online business is doing great and you are able to easily expand!

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