Making It Here: World Eye Bookstore | Connecting Point | May 23, 2016

Making It Here: World Eye Bookstore | Connecting Point | May 23, 2016


WORLD EYE BOOKSTORE HAS BEEN A
LANDMARK IN GREENFIELD CENTER FOR OVER FOUR DECADES.
CURRENT OWNER JESSICA MULLINS IS COMMITTED TO RUNNING THE SHOP AS
A COMMUNITY CENTER. SHE SHARED HER PASSION FOR THAT
IDEA DURING A RECENT VICTIM WITH MARLA ZIPPAY AND VIDEOGRAPHER
MARK LANGVIN.>>HI, PAT, THIS IS JESSICA FROM
WORLD EYE.>>I REALLY LIKE THE RETAIL.
I REALLY LIKE THE COMMUNITY. I’M FROM GREENFIELD.
I HAVE ALWAYS LIKED THE WAY THE STORE WAS RUN.
WE TRY AND RUN IT NOT JUST AS AN INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE BUT AS A
COMMUNITY PLACE SO THE CUSTOMERS ARE FRIENDS.
WE HAVE WATCHED PEOPLE GROW UP. WE HAVE SEEN DIFFERENT
GENERATIONS COME THROUGH. I THINK I KEPT GETTING DRAWN
BACK TO THAT. WHEN I WAS YOUNGER MY MOM WAS
ACTUALLY ONE OF THE FIRST EMPLOYEES OF WORLD EYE, SO I
GREW UP WITH THE STORE. THEN WENT OFF TO COLLEGE, DID
OTHER THINGS, CAME BACK TO THE STORE AGAIN, WORKED FOR THE
STORE FOR A WHILE. AND THEN I HAD MY DAUGHTER AND
AT THE SAME TIME I WAS DECIDING WHAT TO GO BACK TO WORK AND DO,
THE PREVIOUS OWNER WANTED A MANAGER.
HIRED ME AS THE MANAGER, AND IMMEDIATELY WE STARTED TALKING
THAT SHE WAS READY TO RETIRE AND WE KIND OF WENT FROM THERE.
OH, YEAH. IT’S SPECIAL.
WE REALLY FOCUS ON AMAZING SELECTION OF THINGS THAT YOU
CAN’T FIND IN THE BIG STORES. SO WE ORDER FROM THE SMALL
PUBLISHERS, FROM THE REPS THAT COME IN.
WE HAVE A LOT OF LOCAL AUTHORS. WE ALMOST EVERY WEEKEND HAVE
EITHER A LOCAL AUTHOR SIGNING OR SOMETHING GOING ON THAT
REPRESENTS THE FLAVOR OF WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS AND WE HAVE MIXED
IN A LOT OF OTHER PRODUCTS TO HONESTLY BOOST SALES AND TO KEEP
THE BOOKSTORE PART OF IT GOING. BUT IT SEEMS TO BE THE RIGHT MIX
FOR PEOPLE. SOME OF THE CHALLENGES — IT’S
MORE ABOUT GETTING PEOPLE IN THE STORE.
IT’S LESS THAT SOMEBODY IS DOWNLOADING AN EBOOK, MORE THAT
THEY ARE SITTING AT THEIR COMPUTER NOT GETTING OUT INTO
THE WORLD. WE LAST MAY HAD A REAL FINANCIAL
CRUNCH AND WE PUT OUT TO THE COMMUNITY THAT WE MIGHT HAVE TO
CLOSE, AND THE OUTPOUR WAS AMAZING.
JUST ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. WE DIDN’T ASK FOR DONATIONS, WE
ASKED PEOPLE TO COME SHOP AND HELP US GET DOWN OUR INVENTORY,
SAY, YEAH, WE WANT YOU TO BE HERE.
THE BIGGEST THING WAS PEOPLE WERE COMING OUT AND THEY WERE
RUNNING INTO EACH OTHER AND THEY WERE SAYING, OH, MY GOD, I
HAVEN’T SEEN YOU IN TWO YEARS. I KNOW I SAW YOU ON FACEBOOK AND
YOUR KIDS ARE DOING WELL, BUT HOW ARE YOU?
THEN THEY WERE LIKE, LET’S GO TO MESA VERDE AND GET MEXICAN FOOD.
LET’S GO TO GREENFIELD COFFEE AND GET SOME COFFEE.
WHAT WE WERE TRYING TO SAY IS NOT JUST YOU HAVE TO SHOP WITH
US BUT YOU HAVE TO COME OUT AND BE PART OF YOUR COMMUNITY.
YOU HAVE TO COME DOWNTOWN. I THINK NOT JUST BOOKSTORES, ALL
INDEPENDENT STORES. I THINK IT ADDS FLAVOR.
IT ADDS VARIETY. IT ADDS CHOICE.
IF YOU ONLY ORDER THE TOP TEN THINGS THAT ARE RECOMMENDED
ONLINE THOSE ARE GOING TO BE THE ONLY THINGS AVAILABLE.
I THINK PEOPLE HAVE HEARD THAT BUT I DON’T KNOW IF EVERYBODY
GETS IT YET. THAT IT REALLY IS NARROWING
CHOICES. YOU CAN SAVE A DOLLAR HERE AND A
DOLLAR THERE, BUT IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT A DOLLAR.
IT’S ABOUT ALL OF MY EMPLOYEES ARE PRETTY ALCOHOL.
WE SHOP LOCAL FOR OUR SUPPLIES. WE TRY TO USE LOCAL CLEANERS AND
LOCAL PAPER PRODUCTS AND THINGS LIKE THAT.
WE DONATE TO THE COMMUNITY. WE DONATE FOR RAFFLES AND EACH
OF THE INDEPENDENCE STORES THAT DO THAT ADD FLAVOR AND VARIETY
AND CHOICE.>>ONE OF THE BEST THINGS IS
THAT IT ALLOWS MY SCHEDULE TO WORK WITH MY KIDS.
WITH AN AMAZING STAFF LIKE WE ALL COVER EACH OTHER.
WE HAVE ALL BEEN HERE NOW A LONG TIME.
WE ALL CAN PRETTY MUCH HANDLE EVERYTHING.
I THINK THE SCHEDULE PART OF THAT IS THE BEST THING FOR MY
LIFE RIGHT NOW. SOME OF THE FUNNEST THINGS IS
JUST HAVING SOME OF THE AUTHOR EVENTS, HAVING A REALLY GOOD
DAY, YOU KNOW, WITH ALL THE CUSTOMER SERVICE GOING RIGHT AT
THE END OF THE DAY, HAVING THE DRAWER EVEN OUT.
SOMETIMES THAT’S JUST FUN FOR ME.
I REALLY LIKE RETAIL. I LIKE THE INTERACTIONS WITH THE
CUSTOMERS. I LIKE HAVING A CUSTOMER THAT
HAS COME IN THAT’S BEEN A CUSTOMER FOR A LONG TIME TELL US
SOMETHING REALLY WONDERFUL HAPPENED.
I THINK THAT’S ONE OF THE BEST THINGS.

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  1. What a smart young woman. She's right: We live in a world where people feel community only at home, in their cocoon. Add to that the diminishing role of long fiction, and the replacement of nonfiction with online videos, and selling books becomes a niche. An important spiritual, intellectual, and as she is showing us, social niche. May she find continuing success; I would be a staunch supporter if I still lived in Greenfield.

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