Saturday, September 01, 2007

When They Bring the Forklifts into the Fiction Section, It's Time for the Booksellers to Leave

So our bookstore is finally getting its long-awaited remodeling. We've been talking about this for YEARS, but something always came up--new stores to open, mostly. Our company president is definitely a pro at construction projects, but you can't do a lot of them at the same time. When the opportunity to open a new store comes along, as it has pretty regularly the last few years (Mountain View, Burlingame, Alameda, Disney, Opera Plaza...), the remodels just get pushed back. And pushed back... I'm not sure exactly how long it's been, but I do know we're now on our fourth manager since the subject first came up.

Anyway, it's exciting and also kind of horrifying. We've gotten some of the new fixtures already--beautiful blond wood ones to replace the horrid old grey metal things with gaps at the back where books would fall through. The tree in front of the store has come down, since we're moving the storefront out a few feet to be flush with the rest of the buildings on the block. We'll be getting non-hideous lighting, some form of ventilation, and tables and bookcases that can be rolled out of the way for author events. Should be awesome.

The preparations for the construction have been... interesting... since none of us really understands how it's going to work. (OK, maybe that's just me--my excuse is that I was on vacation.) Some of the books have been boxed up and sent away, others banished to the basement, others wrapped up in plastic like day-old sandwiches. Office shelves have been stripped bare. Huge collections of garbage have been generated--dead computers, mangled calendar racks, stripped paperback books, damaged toys. The pricey plush animals that we sell have been bundled up in plastic bags and stashed in a corner of the basement like so many murdered boarders.

On Monday morning we were there at 6:30 putting on the final touches. After a mad rush to get 50 boxes of salebooks processed and onto a truck, we wandered out onto the sales floor. Workmen who didn't speak English were trooping into the store, carrying boards and power saws and strangely shaped pieces of sheet metal. Guys who did speak English were holding clipboards and talking urgently on cell phones. Two little red forklifts rolled into the store and headed for the fiction section.

We walked out the front door and headed up the street for donuts.


Anonymous Carha said...

Great work.

11:47 PM  

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