By Jennifer Anglin of The Enchanted Forest
The noted children's bookstore The Enchanted Forest in Dallas is closing. Here, owner Jennifer Anglin shares a letter about how she reached her decision, and what bookselling has meant to her.
"So they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing." --The House at Pooh Corner by A.A.Milne
That quote is from the last page of The House at Pooh Corner by A.A.Milne, and from whence we took our store name.
Recently, I made "that decision." I am closing my beloved store, The Enchanted Forest in Dallas.
I truly am comfortable with my decision to close and am really looking forward to retirement. The timing is right. Since Dallas is a big sports town, the analogy I have used with my customers is I don't want to be one of those football players who keeps playing while the whole crowd silently prays, "Please, for the love of God, get off the field."
I decided to close The Enchanted Forest while we were at the top of our game.
Since we opened in the month of August 10 years ago, I was looking at having to renew too many things that have risen in costs while the economy in Dallas has not. On top of that, I have a 4 1/2-year-old girl (whom we waited 14 years for) with whom I have never spent Christmas. She believes the world is full of magic, and I want to enjoy that with her -- before some eight-year-old tells her it's not.
With my decision to close made, my hope was to gently close a chapter of my life and tie up loose ends. I didn't think it would matter to anyone else, other than my staff.
I was wrong.
I never expected the overwhelming response from customers when I told them the news. (I will admit, it is gratifying to see the customers prostrate themselves on the carpet and wail "Noooooooo!" Since there was never any money in bookselling, compliments were all I lived on!). It is nice to have them miss us. One woman came up to me and said, "We took you for granted, and now there will be a hole in my heart where the store was."
The store has been filled with well-wishers. Many people have shared stories of their memories -- even of some events I don't remember doing -- and there has been lots of laughter. And the supportive e-mails that have poured in from other booksellers and publishers have brought me to happy tears many times. It has been amazing.
It's weird to see shelves leaning with fewer books and the tops of counters where toys once were. Ever since The Sixth Sense came out, I have often sidled up next to a non-busy staff member and whispered, "I see white space," which meant go put something there -- because you can't sell something that's in a box in the warehouse. Today, I see lots of white space, and I like it. It's time to put the "bookend " on the other side.
I will miss the Enchanted Forest: my incredible staff, the terrific authors/illustrators, and the publishing people.
I will miss all of the other dynamic booksellers, from whom I have "borrowed" (OK, outright stolen) many ideas, and the children, especially the precious ones we have watched grow up through the years. (I can remember one little boy who was short on the amount for his book and offered me a tooth that "had only been used once, but the fairy gave me a dollar and you don't have to give me any change!" and who now comes in for novels.)
I will treasure many memories of the wonderful people who have come through our door. We are celebrating our decade in the book business.
I wish you many years of happy reading! Thank you for a marvelous life in books!