A Blustery Day
Hurricane Ian Updates
Our brick-and-mortar store is presently closed due to Hurricane Ian. HOWEVER, you can still order online! The webstore is current and up to date. Online orders are being fulfilled as normal. We SUPER appreciate the business since it is our only source of income right now (and we have a lot of repairs to pay for).
How To Support Your Friendly Neighborhood Bookstore
The outpouring of support from local and out of town readers is incredible! The question I'm seeing most often is "how can i help" (and let me tell you, even just ASKING is quite helpful, it is very nice to know you're thinking of us).
- 5 star google reviews - if you haven't already, please review the store! Current 5-star reviews help the algorithm confirm we are real, and that we have real customers. The biggest hit we took in 2020 was from the drop in "visitors" which confused the robot overlords and led them to think we had disappeared. If you have ever thought about leaving us a 5 star review, now is the optimal time!
- Social media engagement is actually really helpful! Especially right now, when we live and die by whether or not everyone is aware they can still shop here (online) even though we are closed for repairs.
- Order from the webstore (orders are being fulfilled as normal)
- Buy yourself a gift card to use when we re-open
- Donations are also an option (since i've been asked a couple of times about that)
During the storm I evacuated to Naples with Kitty Wan Kenobi (and my other cat), we rode out the storm in comfort at a friend's house. Scott stood by out of state, where he would be able to get plywood and other supplies for cleanup without facing the post-storm shortages. (Yes, we learned some lessons from Irma.)
The roof was breached by the storm, and our side door was broken open (by the storm, not by mischief). A significant amount of water entered the shop, and a portion of the inventory was destroyed. Thankfully, we were able to be there promptly for cleanup, and there was a truly touching response from others in the community who showed up to help.
Despite the lack of power (which meant we couldn't use most tools or lights!) we vacuumed out the water less than 48 hours after the storm. When the batteries on the shop vac died, our friends and neighbors literally got down on their hands and knees to soak up the water with towels, walking outside to wring them out, over and over again. Drying everything out immediately is the difference between a total loss and a quick recovery - we didn't have time to wait for power to be restored before we did cleanup. If they hadn't been here to help, we could never have completed it in time. They literally saved the bookshop.
The book arch did get very, very wet. Immediate surgery was undertaken and the damaged parts are removed (which was, by the way a very challenging task, and I am so grateful to my friend Emily for diving right into that like the viking warrior queen she is - axe and all).
Now that the immediate danger (things being MOIST) is passed, we are taking advantage of this very fortunate good weather to dry out everything else we need before we can complete other repairs. Also, we still don't have power, so keep your fingers crossed on that coming back soon!
Power was restored on Oct 3rd, so we can run the fans and dehumidifiers we need to combat the damp. Damp is, of course, the enemy of books!
While tarping the roof, we discovered a previously unnoticed problem: the insulation in the attic is entirely drenched in water. (Yes, it's obvious in retrospect, but dammit Jim, I'm a bookseller, not a roofer.) On the up side, that means the insulation acted as a giant sponge and soaked up water that would otherwise have poured down into the books below. On the down side, that means we have to have it removed IMMEDIATELY in order to arrest the development of mold and other nasties. We're hustling to get the right safety gear and the right people to do this NOW.
A fat layer of insulation was the only thing that stopped approximately 5,000 gallons of water from pouring into the bookshop during Hurricane Ian. Once we figured out what happened we had to IMMEDIATELY remove the spongey nasty stuff so it didn't (a) cause the ceiling to give way and collapse in a wet mess onto the shelves below or (b) become a mold farm and render the store intolerable.
Scott and I, and 3 volunteers, spent over 11 hours in the attic removing insulation (Are you one of the people who's thinking "Hey, isn't she claustrophobic?" Why yes. Yes I am. And Scott is asthmatic.) Uncountable thanks to Chuck Yurch, Caden Traylor, and Karen Kalivas for helping Scott and me complete this miserable job in LESS THAN ONE DAY. We literally didn't think it was possible.
Also, a shout-out to Boyette Miller construction, for doing such a solid job when they hung the ceiling in 2019 that the drywall held thousands of gallons of water back long enough to allow us to get to it. And put the insulation up SO NEATLY that even in the semi-dark when my light died it was easy to roll up the sections because I knew where the next seam would be.
The roof has been temporarily secured, but we cannot re-open for business until interior repairs and cleanup are complete. Tomorrow we meet with our insurance adjuster, and will have a new update!
Thanks for your patience with respect to delayed replies to emails and calls, I'm doing my best to answer everyone promptly but it's a lot to keep up with and I'm not operating at my full brain power. I will answer everyone, it just may not be on my usual timeline.