Snow Day Planning

Josie Leavitt - January 14, 2011

For most of us in the Northeast, Wednesday brought a snowstorm of varying sizes. Here in northwestern Vermont our predicted one to three inches turned into more like eight to ten. The unexpectedly horrible weather had us closing the store early. It’s a rare treat for booksellers to actually get a snow day. And I learned that they’re just has much fun as an adult as they were when I was a kid. The only difference was, I didn’t play, I planned, and it was just as satisfying.
The rare time off together allowed Elizabeth and me to hunker down with weather and plan the year.┬áThis year we’re trying to focus on more author-less events. The most fun of the snow day was brainstorming great event ideas. Of course, we’re also going to the 6th Winter Institute next week, I’m sure we’ll get some other fun ideas. But there were three ideas that we had on Wednesday that we’ve already set up, and this rapid turnaround is a record for us.
One idea we had is a bike-tuning event in May to help kids get their bikes ready for the summer. The part of the event that makes me happy is the organization that will lead the event also takes old bikes and donates them to kids who need them, so we’re asking folks to bring in bikes their kids have outgrown to donate to the organization. This is the kind of community event I want to do more of in the coming year. I think these events have a lasting ripple effect for all involved.
We’ve always danced around the idea of having a store book group: should we, shouldn’t we? Well, we bit the bullet and I get to indulge in my passion for mysteries and dystopian novels: Mysteries and Mayhem will meet on the fourth Tuesday of the month starting in February. I’m excited about this. I’m not sure why after all these years, I finally feel that I can run a really good book group. Honestly, I think all I needed was a theme. Sometimes, it’s the simple things. I just hope other people like the book group, too.
Other author-less events we’re having are two parties. One is a tea party and the other is a fairy/pirate tea party. I’m always astonished at how successful these tea parties are. And, trust me when I say that there is a different kind of kid who will come to each party, because not all tea parties are the same. Tea parties are easy and once you’ve made the investment in tea sets, you’re pretty all set, except for food. Honestly, I like making the food for tea parties, it’s fun and it’s a great way to get the whole staff working as an assembly line making tiny tea sandwiches.
I’m curious what other stores are doing with their author-less events. If you feel like sharing, let us know what events your store is having that you’re excited about.

4 thoughts on “Snow Day Planning

  1. Bill Johnson

    Appreciated your thoughtful post, Josie. Re: tea parties–Kim Hendrickson’s Finger Sandwiches in paperback will offer the assembly line a host of ideas, step-by-step instructions, and color illustrations to keep morale high. She has catered for the NY Metropolitan Opera and presented annually at the World Tea Expo.
    Best wishes for a successful year of events.

  2. Carin Siegfried

    one that I liked was a bookstore that did Mummify Your Barbie along with books about mummies. And another bookstore actually had sheep at the store – easy tie-ins with books like Russell the Sheep. If you like animals but think barnyard animals should not be in the store, you could work with a local vet to have a spay/neuter/shots day if they have a mobile unit that could set up in your parking lot. Another org with mobile units of course is the Red Cross. Everyone who donates could get 20% off, something like that. Good luck! These sound like fun. Author-less events are key for stores.

  3. Jerri Patton

    What about having birthday parties at The Flying Pig? Could you charge enough to make it worthwhile? Story time could be the big entertainment.


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