With Wordsmiths Gone, Little Shop Looks To Fill The Void

Known as THE children’s bookstore within Decatur’s city limits and beyond, Little Shop of Stories has long been the go-to spot for parents when kids outgrow their most well-worn books or you find yourself in need of a great gift for a child.  But with the recent closing of adult-focused Wordsmiths Books, Little Shop now sees its opening into a broader market.

As far back as I can remember, Little Shop has had a smaller, smart, adult section amidst the rows of candy-colored book spines and undersized chairs.  But Dave Shallenberger says that in the coming months, that smaller, over-shadowed section will take on a new prominence.

“Growing our adult section is something we have wanted to do for a long, long time, but was put on hold when Wordsmiths came in. We’ve added a good number of adult titles already this month and more will be gradually coming in. Some kind of permanent signage will be going up in our window next month indicating that we have books for adults as well. We’ve started talking to publishers about working with them to bring in authors of adult books.”

And while the adult section may expand, Dave reassures us that the store will remain dedicated to its first love, children’s books.  “We want to retain our identity as being a great kid’s bookstore, but would love to be known for also being a real community bookstore.”

In a city where children are at the center of so many activities and conversations, creating a “community bookstore” with a strong emphasis on children’s books sounds right on target.

Wordsmiths Books Closes Suddenly

Carl points to this note on Wordsmiths website…

I’ve pondered how to start this, but this is the best I can come up with. There is no great way to begin the end of a dream, and there is no gentle way to state that finality is upon you. That said, I regret to announce that, as of Monday, March 2nd, 2009, Wordsmiths Books will close its doors for good. I don’t do this willingly, and I would love to say that there were avenues of exploration yet to wander, possibilities that could avert this outcome, but that would be untruthful. I have explored every possibility open to me, but the sheer magnitude of the decline in sales alone (on the heels of our efforts to right the boat) from our current economic downturn has long since evaporated the fumes. Frankly put, there’s nothing left to make the engine go, and sitting on the side of the road with a thumb out doesn’t seem to earn you much grace as a business.

Read the full note here.

This is tough.  Not only to those that helped keep the operation afloat last fall during the controversial donations campaign, but for all the people that attended some great events at Wordsmiths on a weekly basis.  Best of luck to Zach, Russ and all the Wordsmiths crew!

Russ Marshalek Leaves Wordsmiths

Wordsmiths’ Publicity/Marketing Director, Russ Marshalek, who has been with the bookstore since the store opened, is being let go at the beginning of March.

In a letter to associates, colleagues and friends he writes of his future plans.  You can read the full letter after the jump.

Best of luck to you Russ!  Thanks for all the great events you’ve brought to our fair city over the past couple years!

Continue reading “Russ Marshalek Leaves Wordsmiths”

Decatur January Offerings

Here’s a round up of recent offers, events, and specials that I’ve gathered up recently…

  • The latest’s Sawicki’s newsletter announces that Lyn is now carrying local Johnson Family Farms whole milk for only $3.65 a half-gallon. (From my own observations, that’s cheaper than organic from the grocery store) and selling eggs from her own backyard chickens for 40 cents each.  Also Sawicki’s is doing a poll on perishables over at its website.  Head over and give a little quick feedback.
  • Tastings will host an Inauguration Party next Tuesday from 6p-whenever.  There will be Inauguration-themed trivia, beer specials, buckets of beer, 1/2 off Pilsner Urquell, food specials, ½ off sandwiches, ½ off house wines and themed cocktail.
  • Decatur EdTV is now offering a new monthly newsletter (pdf) to help residents stay up to date with the charter school process.  Andrea says hardcopies might also soon be available around town.
  • Whit’s End is in the midst of a Winter Clearance Sale.
  • Poetry Atlanta comes back to Wordsmiths’ stage this Saturday at 2pm.

Business owners – if you have any other upcoming events/sales/new offerings, send them along and I’ll add ’em to the list.

CL Fiction Contest Party Jan 8th at Eyedrum

Andisheh tipped me off to Creative Loafing’s Fiction Contest Party a few days back, but I hadn’t gotten around to posting it – mostly because his checks keep bouncing.  Yuck, yuck…(that’s the joke WordPress)

It’s actually being hosted in Atlanta, but Wordsmiths will be well-represented so the DM Board of Directors has made an exception.

Tell all your friends! It’s time for the 8th annual CL Fiction Contest Party!

We’d like to invite you to the Fiction Contest Party Thurs., Jan. 8, 7 p.m. at Eyedrum (290 MLK Jr. Drive SE, Suite 8, Atlanta, GA 30312; 404-522-0655, www.eyedrum.org).

We received more than 200 entries and had to whittle them down to our three faves. It wasn’t easy, believe us. We had amazing help from our three local judges: award-winning children’s author Carmen Deedy; author, playwright and professor Phillip DePoy; and bookworm, aspiring author and Wordsmiths Books marketing guru Russ Marshalek. Continue reading “CL Fiction Contest Party Jan 8th at Eyedrum”

Wordsmiths Meets Operating Costs; Will Remain Open Thru Fall

In a post over on the Wordsmiths blog, Zach announces the success of their fund-raising campaign, which will help keep the bookstore open through the fall.

In a rather measured celebratory statement to his readers, Zach writes…

There is still much for us yet to do.  We have operating expenses caught up and have made some traction into tomorrow, but we will still be working on paying down our debts for the foreseeable future.  I would be remiss to state that all is well and that we are completely in the clear, though we are at least now in a position to address our concerns.  I am still working to secure the long-term future of the bookstore and will be open to investment of any level up to that of a partnership in the business.  I would like to have investment in the business secured sometime in the coming 90 days, so if you are interested, please email me or call the store to discuss the prospect.

Since there is no mention about hitting 100% of the funds needed, we’ll have to assume they didn’t quite make up the 40% needed over the two-day fundraiser.

And while some may question the action of a for-profit business asking for donations, you have to be impressed by the response they’ve received.  Early on, someone questioned the focus Wordsmiths placed on PR…well, when push came to shove, the huge network they had created after only a year in operation saved them from some bad decisions and ultimately closing…for now.

But now the pressure is on.  Over the next few months we’ll just have to wait and see how things play out.