Building back after Covid shutdowns

Businesses have been going through times over the past two and a half years since the start of the pandemic. Bookstores were a part of the businesses that had to shut down, but now most are back open, and some are thriving more than before.

A U.S. Census Bureau data showed that bookstores fell nearly 30 percent in 2020.

Bookstores are places where people can go inside and get lost in the words and visual arts that books have to offer.

In Chester Creek Books and Antiques, the number of books they have, will have you wanting to explore each and every page.

There was a point where they had to shut down but; were still available for people to get their favorite books.

The business had to look outside the northland to keep their business going for a short period. “I think overall, we have not lost any business. Right now, we depend on a lot of out-of-town people, particularly from the twin cities, and they are starting to come back. So I think we are probably in better shape than we were before the pandemic started,” says owner Mark Kilen.

Chester Creek Books and Antiques has been in business for sixteen years.

Another local bookstore was not sure if they were going to make it through the pandemic storm in the beginning.

"It was pretty scary in the earlier days. We were not sure what we were going to do, and we ended up closing our doors for a while for safety," said Eric Plumb, owner and operator of The Amazing Alonzo Bookstore.

Throughout the pandemic, Plumb was able to get some opportunities that helped him to maintain his store. “Well, it was social media. It was letting our customers know that still an entity that’s trying to survive. We looked for grants and loans and were able to get a grant through the state, which was very helpful to kind of pay the bills which otherwise wouldn’t have been paid without the sales."

During that period, Plumb said he got a chance to look at ways on improving the business. "It allowed us to pause and see what we would need to do to do going forward, what was working, what was not working, and what we need to do to adapt."

Once the store was able to open, Plumb shared his outlook on how he hoped the business would with its longevity. "This business has been in the community for forty years, so there’s a pretty big community-based sponsorship of what we do, loyal customers and good folks that we know. So it was kind of the hope that people would start to come back."