Serena Wyckoff and Cathy Graham had a mission to connect with their community through books. Though they had already established a pretty successful online business selling both new and used books, they wanted to take their business to the next level and build a space that locals could call home. They succeeded in doing so in 2012 when they opened the doors to their physical store in Punta Gunda, Florida.
“We carry both new and used books in a wide variety of genres,” says Co-owner, Serena. “We’re a friendly and positive place, happy to help anyone find that perfect book or gift.”
This unique and neighborly philosophy has not only helped them grow but also thrive and even sustain their business during the 2020 pandemic.
“We are so grateful for our customers as they have really shown us how much they want us to be here and their support has been fantastic,” says Serena. “Yes, like most small businesses we’ve had to ‘pivot’ quite a bit. We closed to foot traffic for a while, and our online store went crazy. Once we could reopen safely, we have kept high standards of sanitation and masks are required. Most people appreciate this and know it’s for everyone’s benefit.” They’ve also experienced a unique opportunity to transition to a new location this year that better supported their mission.
Serena credits much of their success to their loyal customers, local authors and their five “awesome” booksellers.
“They each have a passion for books and customer service that makes our store succeed. We’re all very different, but we have fun together and care about each other. We love learning about our customers, whatever they want us to know. Allowing us to connect with them is a gift that we don’t take lightly.”
In addition to the personal service that they prioritize, they host author events at their bookstore and at local restaurants and even monthly book clubs—currently these are happening by Zoom.
One thing that hasn’t changed is their commitment to community and ensuring everyone that interacts with them experiences their personal and caring service. This is one bookstore that wants all their customers to feel like family.
“Folks comment on how welcoming we are,” says Serena. Really, we just try to treat our guests the way we like to be treated.”