It’s been a long time since I’ve updated, but I’ve been sidetracked, and I have a good alibi.
My first job in high school was at a bookstore called Upstart Crow & Company, at Stoneridge Mall. It was a bookstore/cafe, and it was pretty cool… And I felt pretty cool working there. It was there I bought my first copy of The Portable Dorothy Parker (which I still have), and I must admit, I spent more time standing behind the counter reading or hanging out in the cafe than actually doing anything, and one time the big wigs came in and I was wearing a vintage 1960s minidress under my work apron (which I also still have), and the district manager asked me why I was wearing a dishrag.
ANYWAY, I was so happy to be working in a bookstore, surrounded by books and interesting people, and after high school, in college, and after college I kept on working in bookstores. The only reason I stopped was because my store, Doubleday Bookshop, shut down. I would probably still be there if it hadn’t.
But it did, and I went on to work in a vintage store and go to grad school and then start working in publishing, which I’ve done for many years. I’ve been so happy being surrounded by books and interesting people. I love publishing, but I’ve always missed the bookstore. I volunteered at the Oakland Friends of the Library bookstore and that was fun — I love recommending and hand selling books almost as much as I love reading.
Since that first job at Upstart Crow, I’ve always fantasized about having my own store. I’ve thought about how I would display things, what kind of events I would have, and what books I would sell. Even with the rise of first the superstores (no other movie has made me cry as hard as You’ve Got Mail) and now Amazon, I have always harbored this dream of having my own little store, where I would have my own daily literary salon, surrounded by books and interesting people. It was only a dream though, because there was no way I thought I could ever make it happen.
Well, it’s actually happening.
A few months ago, the owner of the local little used bookstore decided that she wanted to follow her own dreams and sell the store, and asked if I would be interested. I thought long and hard about it. The cons: for one thing, my day job is still new, and I’m still learning. It hasn’t been easy, and the commute is exhausting — 4 hours a day. I’m barely home as it is, and I’d be giving up my weekends. And I don’t have the money.
The pros: not only would it a dream come true and doing something I love, I also didn’t want to let a business in our town shutter and leave an empty storefront. Our downtown has a lot of potential, but there’s not a lot down there — losing the bookstore would be a terrible thing. How could I say no?
So… Alibi Bookshop will be opening June 1st! The current store is closing on March 30th and we take over the lease on May 1st, and then we have a month to get it all together. *GULP.*
It also means coming up with the money to make it happen, so I started an IndieGoGo to raise funds. I feel weird asking for money, but I keep telling myself that it’s not for me, it’s to keep a business open and build a community, so we all can be surrounded by books and interesting people.
If you’re so inclined, please take a look and donate here — I would be eternally grateful. We need all the help we can get.
And about the name — the current owner recommended that we change the name of the store to make a fresh start. I kept thinking about it, and we were tossing ideas around, and a Facebook post got 300 comments and suggestions! But one of them, from my fabulous friend Kassy, was the winner. She suggested we name it for The Alibi Clock that’s around the corner from the store, and the subject of this Atlas Obscura article. It was a brilliant idea — it has history, and I love the clock. Plus automatic logo!
So anyway, yeah. That’s my alibi. I haven’t updated much because I bought an Alibi. I’d say that’s a pretty good excuse!