Yes, I am aware that it has been a while, April 29 to be exact, since I last blogged. I was going to give a very good plausible excuse that I was sick, in the hospital, met "prince charming" and ran away with him, became very lazy or just forgot. The truth, I have been "on the road" since May 1 and I'm still on the road.
First stop, Amelia Island in Florida. I have been to Jekyll Island in Georgia with my kid. I use to take her and her friends there every summer just for the beach, but this place, next door Amelia, is OMG beautiful, beautiful and beautiful. The beach, the food, the weather, the long walks with Tommy in the early morning and evening. The small downtown area for tourist, but most of all, the great food.
I was there for a week in a class called, "Owning and Opening bookstore." Last year after I lost the part time job at the Asylum, I could see and feel after a few weeks, that I was getting bored. Oh, don't get me wrong. I was able to walk more, eat better, read more, but after all of that, I was still bored. I had successfully managed to follow the Dave Ramsey plan step by step for 3 years running and after not working 7 days a week, I was going around in my head as to what am I going to do with my life. I can't work forever at this government job, even though we do have some who have worked 40 to 50 years with this agency, I got to do something, anything to keep my mind and spirit going.
In early November, while surfing the net, I found the Paz and Associates website. I did not know something like this existed. A company that helps people find, buy, or sell bookstores. Who a thought? I sent them a very nice note on facebook/e-mail, ordered the book, "Opening a bookstore" and signed up for the training session. Hey, I was no longer working 7 days a week. The full time job was going no where and getting boring, so why not!. I also figure, what the hell, I may one day fulfill my dream of owning a bookstore or maybe I will get a full time job at a bookstore.
The week long session was brutal and exciting at the same time. I thought I knew a little about running a business, I know jack crap. Having and running a business is more work than you think. I learned how to get financing, cost for retail, computerizing, vendors, lease negotiation, hiring and firing. Store design and most importantly, strategies for competing with discounters like online mega retailers (You know whom I speak of). At the end of each day, I would sit on the beach to clear my mind and calm down my fear. Serious fear. How do you get the money, find a place to buy or lease. Pay for books. Pay yourself a salary. Make sure you have enough money to live on until your store is off the ground. So many things to do and think about. I understand now more than ever when I go shopping, especially a small business, how very hard it is to run a business.
There were 11 people in the class from all over the United States. We met store designers, publishing vendors, banking and SBA officials and a few actual bookstore owners - Janet Geddis of Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia. That stopped me in my track when I met her because my grandmother was born there and I always wanted to go to there to see her home. Now I really have to do. Janet started online and used Facebook, twitter and other media sources to get the word out and get funding to finally open her store in 2011. It took her two years to do, but she did it. Met the owner of Blue Willow Bookshop and she talked about how her marketing worked to get more people into her store. One of the students in class with me, Amy, is a close friend of Janet and she is opening her store in Atlanta.
Sitting in that classroom for a week, having great lunches and dinners. Walking my dog on the beach every morning was one of the turned out to be the one of best vacations in my life. Now, it's on to figuring out if I can do it. Hey, It's closer than you think. Will continue with more of my month long trips.
Oh, one other thing, saw John Grishman on the beach. He has a house there, but is about to sell it. Seems some people have been knocking on his door and driving him crazy. Hey, that's the life of a star!!
In the mean time, on to books since I've been away so long:
I'm still reading my advance copy of Carl Weber - The Choir Director 2: Runaway Bride - $11.99 and Francine Rivers - Bridge to Haven - $9.36. I'm almost finish with both of them. Managed to get a few pages in while at the beach, but I got distracted by the men wearing the new bathing shorts, or a piece of cloth covering only one side of your "you know what" I keep asking myself, how is it staying in there?
Got to get a few in for Black History Year: We lost two great, great, beautiful and exception women in the last few weeks. MAYA ANGELOU and RUBY DEE. Take the time and buy an read their books and movies. Both women truly did make me what I am today, "A Phenomenal Black Woman."
I'll be back for more adventures of my "road trip" and I won't take so long to report back.