As our Lets Open a Bookshop quest is going through a quiet time at the moment, I thought I might draw your attention to a few people that keep me inspired.
Firstly there's the Fidra Blog which is a remarkable blog by a wonderfully passionate lady called Vanessa who is just weeks away from opening her own Bookshop (I usually write Bookshop with a capital because I hold them in such high esteem). I am so excited for her and slightly jealous of her. Not only that, but she's a publisher as well and remarkably upbeat ALL THE TIME. Please lend your support to her.
Then there's Hereward Corbett, who if you've worked in Waterstone's for a time will know as ex-regional manager, ex manager of Ottakars in Cheltenham, who has also jumped ship and is starting his own bookshop in Tetbury, Gloucester. You can go to his (very) new blog HERE , which should frighten the life out of him, as he's only done 2 entries (write him a message of support and encourage him to write more on the blog!)
There's also Jaffe and Neale an Independent in Chipping Norton. Both Polly Jaffe and Patrick Neale worked at Waterstone's and I was lucky enough to have worked with Polly back in the early 90's. I can remember how amazingly bubbly and positive she was, and it seems that their fantastic attitude and emphasis on customer service has served them well, as they won Independent Bookshop of the Year.
It probably doesn't need a mention, but Crockatt and Powell, somewhere between Waterloo and Lambeth is another relatively new Independent Bookshop, which has found it's market and works fantastically well. They were ex-Waterstone's employees as well...
I've seen success in the Barnes Bookshop and the Kew Bookshop, both run by Isla Dawes and Mark Brighton. Isla's given me lots of great advice, and having visited her Bookshop in Barnes, I was really impressed how she had set up the shop to meet the exact needs of her customers.
These Independent Bookshops deserve support and praise, and as I said, are a real inspiration to me. They're the kind of places that help define an area (or will do in time), and I hope that one day very soon we can follow in their footsteps.
As Mark Farley would probably say 'I salute you'