I don’t recall exactly which sky-is-falling installment of the 2008 economic meltdown was in the news on a day.
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Fearing the market-inflicted doom, all I could do was go to a reading in a Brooklyn bookstore and drink the free wine there. The plan to get drunk and not think about my future worked until I was about three or four cups in, when I started wondering how the beloved indie bookstore I was standing in expected to survive when pretty much everything else looked like it was going to hell.
Five years later, the bookstore is still going strong, and they’ve even expanded into another neighborhood with a second location. While I’ve watched restaurants, bars, coffee shops, clothing boutiques, grocery stores, and nearly every other type of independent business close their doors as a result of the financial crisis, that indie bookstore, and others, are still going. Not only are they still going, but they’ve outlasted their original biggest threat, chain stores like Borders (closed) and Barnes & Noble (future uncertain), and many are thriving even as Amazon tries to tighten its grip around the publishing industry.
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There’s no secret recipe, but any young entrepreneur looking to start their own business should consider walking to their local bookstore to see how it gets the following things right:
1. Like snowflakes, no two indie bookstores are alike
I’ve been to dozens of bookstores all over the country, and the one thing that strikes me is that every single one of them has it own, individual feel.
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2. The secret ingredient is love
The explanation for #2 is simple: people don’t open bookstores because they think they’re going to strike it rich slinging paperbacks; they do it because they genuinely love it.
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5. Indie booksellers empower their employees
I’m not saying they offer a career path with fringe benefits and a retirement program, but I’ve known the people behind the registers at some stores for years. In a place like New York City, where new faces come in and out of your life every hour, that says something. It says that the owners push their employees to take pride in their identity as booksellers.
Link to the rest at Flavorwire