If you are a book lover, I’ve got great news for you. Even in this digital age, indie bookstores are having a Renaissance! Ten years ago, the American Booksellers Association reported 1,600 registered indie bookstores. Today, that number is up to over 2,500! Hi, my name is Alsace and I’m co-owner of Tombolo Books.
I learned bookselling at the famous Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, North Carolina. I worked for over 15 years as a manager and author events director. It’s where I fell in love the business of giving book lovers like you the best possible experience. My wife’s career brought us here, to St. Petersburg, Florida… and I absolutely fell in love. The Sunshine City is home to amazing people, a vibrant arts community, a strong local business culture… and of course… our amazing beaches! But I simply couldn’t bring myself to live in a city without a bookstore like Malaprop’s… Creatively engaged with the community, an incredible selection of books and helpful booksellers… and authors visiting from all over the country to meet their readers! That’s when I had my “aha” moment: I could create the kind of bookstore I wanted here in St. Pete. I went to the St. Pete Chamber of Commerce, enrolled in the Entrepreneurial Academy, and spent the next two years writing my business plan. That’s how my wife Candice and I planted the first seeds for Tombolo Books. *Beach noise and cheerful accoustic guitar music* Fun fact– A “tombolo” is a sandbar that connects an island to the mainland! If you think about it… a Tombolo allows for adventure and journeying to a new land. It’s the perfect coastal Florida metaphor for our business. We connect the reader to a vast world of excellent literature. We connect readers with other like-minded readers. We wanted to get to know you, our local readers, before opening our brick and mortar store. So for the past two years we’ve been out in this community learning, making new friends, and selling books! We’ve done festivals like the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading, Et. Cultura, an Etsy Craft Fair, Localtopia, and Indie markets. We brought graphic novelist Jason Lutes to town… and sold books for author David Sedaris at his Straz Center performance. We’ve provided booksigning support to organizations like the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg… We curated pop-up shops for the Poetry Bar, and the Carter G Woodson African American Museum. We host a book club at the Body Electric Yoga Company… We dipped our toes in the water with a 5-month-long pop-up shop in the Edge District… Launched our e-commerce website…
And created a free downtown delivery service. It’s been so much fun getting to know your reading tastes and being there for you when you need a good book. We also did a ton of research and data tracking to confirm that Saint Pete wants a bookstore like this, and maybe that includes you, too! We want to bring you a brick-and-mortar bookbuying experience. And we found the location of our dreams!
We’ll be at 2153 1st Ave South. Right
next door to Black Crow Coffee and Squeeze Juice Works! There’s a wonderful courtyard for outdoor events and 1,500 square feet for our bookstore. We’ll feature 7,000 books for all ages,
Including books in translation, limited-run books… …books by marginalized voices, and our “blind date books”, along with wonderful journals and cards. We’ll host visiting authors from all over the country. And our readers will be assisted by a full staff of helpful booksellers. We’ve raised a large portion of what we need from private lenders and donors.
But as you can imagine, opening a bookstore is quite expensive. And that’s why we’re asking you to participate with us and become part of our literary family by making a donation. Your donations to our Indie GoGo campaign will help us get started on a strong foundation and open before the end of the year. A donation and a share will get us there!
No amount is too small. It doesn’t hurt to mention our donor thank-you gifts are really cool! In true Saint Pete style, most items are designed by local folks. My favorite gift is a totebag curated by famous authors with some of their favorite books. So check them out on our Indie GoGo campaign! Lastly, thank you for being part of the story of Tombolo Books. ♪