Sunday, May 4, 2014

Tour, Week 5 (Main St., USA)

You'd think that we'd be tired of living out of a suitcase by now, but, strangely, it hasn't been bad. And you'd think that we'd be kind of sick of the buggy windshield and driving, driving, driving, but the destinations make up for the long days on the road, and the scenery helps a lot. Everything is different. Every place is different. Every bookstore owner is unique.

What's also nice are the common threads, that do tie things together. We are all part of the same country. We share a history, and the viewpoints of that shared history from different regions has been very interesting.

The Indie Store in Jacksonville, Illinois
"Main St., USA" is now something I have a picture for. Before it was just a political phrase. Now it's a real place that was once at the center of town, and often still is. It involves brick or stone. Lots of it. And vertical storefronts. And buildings that have their original name and the date they were built cut into stone.

There is a reason that one out of every four of the independent bookstores we are visiting on this tour is located on the Main St. of their town--bookstores began and belong in the heart of a community.

A lot of the bookstores have had a cat. Or two. One had three.

Some have a dog. Or two.

Many are run by couples. Or sisters.

Most have been in the book business for decades, weathering changes in the industry, the economy, and the shuttering of other small businesses on Main St., USA.

All of them want to be booksellers. It's what they love. It's who they are.

At almost every stop, there have been Sammiacs. Awesome, incredible, wonderful people...males (one named Casey!), females (one named Sammy, and one named Heather!) (Yes, at different stops.)

And there's been a huge range in ages, which just goes to show you what we've known all along--Sammy cannot be held to a tidy little classification. She knows how to bust out and sidetrack!

The attendee drive record is 7 hours "for shoelaces" and the number-of-books record was broken this week by a woman from Michigan (4 hrs., one way) who had over 40 books (many of them first printings).

On Friday a girl and her mom traveled 4 hours for our 6:30-8:30 PM event, and had to drive back that night because the girl's college graduation was the next day.

Talk about feeling loved!

So the trip has been educational, heartwarming, and fun, and I'm looking forward to the coming week, which will have us traveling through Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

Can't wait to see who we'll meet there!


Kylie said...

It sounds like you have had once fantastic trip. Reading about your trip has really made me want to travel the country, but lately I have begun to realize how expensive things can be.

I have recently started looking for a job and my dream job would be one my town's main street, well it's mill street but close enough. I love the vibe that is there. People walking from store to store not constantly checking their social media. It is just spectacular.

If I ever opened my own store I would want it to be a Book/Candy store. Have you ever read the Wedding Planner's Daughter series? That series is where I got the idea for it. And there would definitely be a dog there, maybe two, and maybe even a cat. I have always loved this idea for a store mainly because I love candy and books and it would just be the best things ever. Minus sticky hands on books...

Have a great week!


Anonymous said...

I had such a fantastic time at the Village Lights Bookstore meeting you!!!

Rose Sellman said...

I just read Sammy Keyes and the power of Justice Jack, and Sammy Keyes and the showdown in sin city, in like less than two days! I haven't read Sammy Keyes in forever and I forgot how much I love it!! I can't wait to read the rest, Sammy Keyes was my favorite book series when I was Sammy's age. I totally freaked out during the ending of Sammy Keyes and the showdown in sin city, it was so good! I just had to say I love your writing.

Unknown said...

Thursday at the Village Lights Bookstore was really fun. Definitely worth the four hour drive. I had to sleep in the car because I had end of the school year testing the next day. We got back at around midnight because we got stuck in traffic. Still worth it.
Best wishes from Nashville, Tennessee.