There are six spots still available for the Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates’ “Owning a Bookstore: The Business Essentials” workshop retreat for new and prospective owners, lovingly nicknamed “Bookstore Boot Camp” by booksellers who have attended.
The retreat, to be hosted from August 26-29, on Florida’s Amelia Island, aims to provide attendees in the planning stages of opening a bookstore with the information, skills, and contacts they will need to develop a profitable and sustainable business. Co-sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, “Owning a Bookstore: The Business Essentials” is facilitated by Mark and Donna Paz Kaufman of the Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates and their team of book industry professionals. As in prior years, the Kaufmans are offering a $200 tuition discount to all ABA Provisional Members who participate in the workshop.
This year’s program will take place at the Center for Bookstore Entrepreneurship, which offers training to prospective booksellers worldwide and is located within the Story & Song Neighborhood Bookstore Bistro. Founded by the Kaufmans, the 4,500-square-foot bookstore and learning space, which opened its doors in Fernandina Beach earlier this year, serves the local community and as a model bookstore.
Booksellers who sign up for this year’s workshop will not only benefit from the Kaufmans’ recent firsthand experience, but that of Paz & Associates’ 10-member training team of book industry professionals, which includes representatives from leading vendors. Booksellers will learn best practices of successful booksellers and get a crash course in day-to-day bookstore operations, as well as a sense of the “thought and deliberate effort that went into [the Kaufmans’] store design (lighting, fixturing, traffic flow), inventory selection, merchandising, computerized inventory management, marketing, staffing, and more.” Workshop attendees will also be able to take advantage of occasional special offers that can save them hundreds of dollars.
Since opening the bookstore last year, said Mark Kaufman, he and Donna Paz Kaufman have gotten “an up-close-and-personal look at just how complicated and time-consuming the business of bookselling can be.” The story of their bookstore began about three years ago; at that time, the number of stores on Amelia Island, population 20,000, had dwindled from four to one, so the Kaufmans thought it might be the right time to realize their longtime dream of opening a store of their own.
However, they quickly found that rents in the area were too high and decided to hold off based on the tenet that, above all, the financial dynamics for a prospective business need to make sense. Luckily, a year ago, the Kaufmans learned that a former florist shop in their neighborhood was going on the market at a reasonable price, and they jumped at the opportunity.
For more information on the “Owning a Bookstore” workshop retreat and to sign up, visit the Paz & Associates website. ABA provisional bookstore members looking to take advantage of the $200 tuition discount should call (904) 277-2664. Booksellers who would like to become provisional members of ABA can apply online. Those with questions about provisional membership are invited to contact either of ABA’s two Member Relationship Managers, Elizabeth Roberts and Daniel O’Brien.