After taking over the family business from her father in 2012, Amber Price was getting a panicky feeling. Price was worried about the longevity of The Book Man, the used bookstore where she had worked since the age of 12. The Chilliwack store is a book lover’s dream – 5,000 square feet filled with perfectly organized books and a knowledgeable, friendly staff.
With the rapid onset of e-books and kindle, Price was concerned that technology would make traditional bookstores obsolete. Revenues were dropping and other bookstores were going out of business.
But instead of giving up, Price resolved to find more customers, ramp up marketing and open a second bookstore in Abbotsford. Almost four years later revenues are up, the new store was named Best New Business in 2013 and The Book Man gained attention with a catchy Youtube video produced by an employee.
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Price attributes her success to yogic training. “I was studying with a trainer from India who taught me about breath work and expansion. Instead of giving into the urge to turn inward, I decided to expand outwards.” From the day we opened in Abbotsford, there was a lot of interest and a loyal customer base. New customers were visiting us each day, including a growing base in Chilliwack.”
A solid baseline in her business is heId in her online sales division with an inventory management system that’s rare for used bookstores. “As our online presence and reputation grew, so did our capacity to database our inventory and increase revenues as a result.” The Book Man’s employee base has grown from one staff member in 1990 to 18 in 2015.
Both Book Man locations are more than ordinary bookstores. ”People are there for a bookish experience that can’t be created online. We always provide a clean, well lit atmosphere. The Book Man also features complimentary retail lines; book themed jewellery, book marks and t-shirts.
Both stores have resident cats who greet customers at the door. The Book Man will now have a resident baby; Price became a first time mother this spring and plans to introduce her son to the world of books very soon.
“The tactile experience of being in a used bookstore is physical – it’s awesome. You can’t get that on a computer.”