Since the redundancy was agreed, I've woken up every morning with a sense of excitement and fear in varying degrees. I've enjoyed working in Waterstone's Bookshop since 1990, they've been a pretty fair employer all in all. Like most jobs, I've been through times when it hardly seemed worth getting up in the morning, but it has given me the chance to do what I love the most, working with the public. Not only that, but I got to be surrounded by wonderful books, and work with some of the nicest people I could ever hope to work with.
On August 3rd 2007, all that changed. Our Area Manager came into the store to let the staff know that the shop we worked in, and loved, was closing in 9 days time, and was being taken over by a clothes retailler. It was a bit of a shock, to say the least.
I won't bore you with all the details, but suffice to say, everyone who wanted to was relocated to other branches, and those who didn't were given redundancy. I was one of the ones who was given redundancy. I just couldn't see myself in another branch. I'd moved to Wood Green in January, and I fell in love with it. It wasn't the most efficient shop. In fact, if i'm honest, sometimes it bordered on chaos, but the shop worked. We gelled as a team, and from the beginning of the year we'd started to beat our targets. This odd little shop was starting to get noticed. Other managers in the region were getting a bit more interested in what was going on up in North London...what it was that Waterstone's in Wood Green was doing that had them doing so well.
The answer was pretty simple. We dedicated every commercial decision we made to our customers, we looked at the shop from their point of view, and tailored the shop (as much as we were allowed to) to them. There it is, there's the secret. Now go back to your retail outlets prepare for profit. Oh, and the other thing we did was have fun. A job's not work if it's fun, and i'm not a fan of work.
So here we are, me and Tim were astonished by the seemingly short sighted decision to close the shop. And so were a few others.
And this is going to be our story. We have the passion, the determination, and we also have a little bit of business acumen. With a little help, it might just work. It'll make for compelling reading whatever happens.
We would love any advice, words of encouragement or money that you can spare, and we'll do our best to be as honest in this blog as possible.
I apologise for this rather serious, and factual introduction. Things are bound to get more interesting.......