It’s hard to believe, but on November 3rd, The Next Chapter will be celebrating one year in business!
One year ago Tresa and Steve Mott took the daring plunge and decided to open, of all things, a bookstore in their storefront property on the Knoxville town square. Then they hired me to work with Tresa and manage the store. And then, as we stocked the store with books and gifts in preparation for our opening day, the world’s economy plunged into a deep recession. Gulp!
People questioned our sanity, some shook their heads, but most were just glad that Knoxville had a new store on the square and that it was a book and gift shop. We realized it was a little crazy, but Tresa and I both believed that this kind of business was going to bring positive things to the community. That’s why we decided to call it The Next Chapter.
And what a chapter it has been! Aside from a tremendous amount of fun, the learning curve for both of us has been steep. While we both have plenty of business experience, neither of us knew much about the book business or about retail in general. We gained invaluable help from a number of people who were extremely generous with their time and their wisdom – people like Kate Bearce, the former owner of Main Street Books in Pella; Jo Goff and Kevin Daugherty, our neighbors at Radio Shack; Natalie Leisure of Our Town Florist; Jim Butler of KNIA/KRLS who wasn’t afraid to tell us things nobody else wanted to say! To some special guys who helped us with the interior construction and signage for our shop: Nick Gerdes (who built our counter), Scott Ziller (who designed our logo and sign) and Mike VanNatta (who also helped with building shelves), we say thanks. Special appreciation to Cheri Gerdes, Nancy Greiner, Erin Murphy and Katrina Nelson who spend countless volunteer hours with us. And last but not least, we could have not done it without the constant support of our husbands, Bob Leonard and Steve Mott, and the love of our children and parents.
Even before we officially opened the doors, our customers- to-be were stopping in to ask questions and to offer encouragement, and when we were finally ready, the response was almost overwhelming! To date, we have sold over 6,500 new books and nearly 3,000 used books. That’s getting very close to ten thousand books in the hands of readers! I think that’s really exciting. Imagine all the great new ideas, the new understanding, and the pleasure all those books have brought to our community. Our gifts department has also been busy and we have worked hard to bring unique, quality items that our customers can feel good about giving – or keeping for themselves – and once again, our customers have responded with enthusiasm and lots of ideas.
As we look forward to our second year in business, we hope to build on our young tradition of being the place to meet your friends for a thoughtful conversation over a good cup of coffee, the place you come to for a good book, for the perfect gift, or for a little something to lift your spirits. We hope you will enjoy the events we bring, and the book clubs we organize. We will continue to support local authors and artisans; and with our 10% donation of monthly used book sales, we will continue to support our community’s deserving causes.
So please join us on our First Anniversary Celebration, Tuesday, November 3rd and let us thank you for your support with a cup of coffee and some fresh baked treats. We will also have drawings for four $25 gift certificates throughout the day.
Here’s to many more successful years to come!