Georgia Magazine - March 2018 - 35
Little Shop of Stories, Decatur
Diane Capriola always had wanted to own a children's bookshop.
"She needed a partner, so I did
some research and decided to take
the plunge. We opened in 2005,"
Dave Shellenberger says. "I wish I
had known more about accounting
before I started, but I love coming
to work every day. I work with great
people who love what they do, and
parents and kids are so glad we're
Located on the Courthouse
Square in Decatur, Little Shop expanded its inventory last year, adding
about 20 percent adult books. Why?
"Because we listen to our customers," Shellenberger says. "What
makes a bookstore thrive is patience
and building relationships with your
Little Shop has supported and
grown alongside the annual Decatur
Book Festival and the Decatur Education Foundation, which brings authors to schools. "What really makes
the difference, though, is that our
people know their stuff, and they
know our customers. They take the
time to find out what people like
[and] what they don't and make suggestions."
COURTESY FOXTALE BOOK SHOPPE
"I wanted the bookstore to be a
place that felt homey and welcoming," says Schwettman, a former interior designer.
Customers love the vintage architectural features (oak mantel, Victorian doors, tin ceiling tiles), but it's the
warm, Southern welcome from the
staff and the engaging book events
that keep them coming back.
"For book signings, we try to add
something extra-like music, food or
entertainment-that makes each different," Schwettman says.
For a signing of "The Supremes
at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat" by Edward
Kelsey Moore, they re-created a '50s
diner with pimento-cheese sandwiches and MoonPies. The store also
boasts writing classes and multiple
author talks, lunches, teas and workshops.
"We can't compete with big-box
prices because of their deep discounts, but we make up for it in relationships. We love books; there isn't
a box that comes into the store that
doesn't feel like Christmas," Schwettman says. "We love talking about
books, meeting authors and making
that personal contact with customers,
who become friends. It's not an easy
business, but if you have the passion
for books and people, it's awesome."
"I wanted the bookstore to be a place that
felt homey and welcoming," says Karen
Schwettman, co-owner of FoxTale Book
Shoppe in Woodstock.
Events keep the store lively.
"Children love to meet authors,
and we host many, but we also have
nine book clubs, summer camps and
birthday parties," he says.
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
keep customers informed. Shellenberger notes that the number of independent bookstores bottomed out in
2010 but now is growing.
For anyone considering bookstore ownership, he recommends the
resources offered by Paz & Associates, a bookstore-training group.
"Attending their workshops is
one of the smartest things we ever
did," he says.
COURTESY LITTLE SHOP OF STORIES
The Bookshelf, Thomasville
Annie Jones fell into bookshop
"I volunteered to do story time
for young readers at The Bookshelf's
second store in Tallahassee [Fla.] and
was soon running it," Jones says.
When the owner closed that
store, Jones moved to Thomasville
and gradually has been buying out
"I knew I couldn't compete with
Amazon. I had to do something really
Little Shop of Stories in Decatur continues
to focus on children's books, but it recently
added some books for adults to its inventory in response to customer feedback.
(Continued on page 37)
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