Dear beloved booklovers and supporters of Humpty Dumpty Books,
As of Friday, March 20th, we, and the entire Kids Market, closed our doors indefinitely so we could do our part in mitigating the spread of Covid-19.
What an emotional rollercoaster it's been. Each day last week I found myself faced with business decisions I'd never thought to think about as a young business owner. I felt confused, scared, frustrated, sad... It was devastating to have to lay off our staff - the wonderful, beautiful individuals who've contributed so much to making our bookstore so unique and special. Not being able to see and connect with fellow booklovers in the context of our shop has also been a huge and difficult adjustment.
On the upside, I really felt the love and care of our many regulars, and fellow Kids Market tenants and staffers during the last days we were open. Many of you came by out of your way to check in on me and Aimee and Bryn to ask how we were doing. We shared joy, thoughts, and laughs about our favourite books, writers, and artists. We were able to share our burdens of worry, fear, and uncertainty, all while holding back from the urge to hug. It is such a comfort to know that I am not alone in this - that none of us are. For this I am deeply grateful - thank you.
Despite the challenges now and all the big emotions I'm still currently feeling, thinking of our staff and customers is helping me focus on what I can do now to ensure our people have a workplace to come back to, to ensure we can continue to serve readers by offering beautiful, diverse, heartfelt books you can't easily find elsewhere.
We have always focussed on in-store service rather than online sales because of the frank reality that a small brick and mortar business cannot compete in price with giants like Chapters and Amazon. But over the years I have learned that our customers return to our bookstore for the quality of our selection, excellent service, and the element of surprise. It is always magical to see the delight in customers faces when they stumble across the works of Mohsin Hamid, Noam Chomsky, Audre Lorde, Gary Larson, a book of poetry in Scottish Gaelic, books in French, Spanish, Japanese, Tagalog... It has been heartening too to see the collective consciousness awakening to the value of small businesses like ours powered by real passion, sweat, and love for our craft, rather than algorithms, exploitation, and the bottom line.
So with all this in mind, I hope you will take a moment to consider the following actions you can take to help us keep on keeping on:
If you are able to - purchase a gift card. Every gift card purchased online will help alleviate immediately some of the financial pressure we're currently under. You can select any amount from $2 and up - truly anything will help. There is no time limit on gift cards and they can be put towards future purchases both online and in-store (when we reopen).
If you are able to - buy books through our online shop! It's quite spare right now, but I'll be adding more items every day. Look out for workbooks and resources for homeschooling, and fun creative "starterpacks" based on mood and theme coming soon. There are options for free curbside pickup and frontdoor delivery. If you would like to surprise a friend or make a donation or anything special like that please don't hesitate to reach out to me here through the website or through email directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like, follow, and interact with us on Facebook and Instagram! In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing posts about books and products, as well as news about what Vancouver's small business community is doing to support one another. If there is a lesson learned from other countries that have flattened the curve of the pandemic it's that transparency and wide open sharing of information is vital. We may not have control over the virus, but we can support one another by sharing our challenges, resources, and tips for navigating the road ahead together.
Share and sign this petition for actual small business support. Billions towards banks, industries, and loans will not trickle down to us little guys. More debt is not the answer for us. We need concrete help to survive, not just deferral of rent and interest. Your awareness and added voice is so important on this issue.
If you or your loved ones are impacted by layoffs here is a very helpful breakdown of the EI application process prepared by Christina Mackay (thank you so much Christina for creating and sharing this - it has been extremely helpful to us here).
Drop me a note please and let me know how you're doing, how you're feeling, what you are looking for, how I can help. You can message me through any online channel, as well as through my personal mobile: 778-840-4686.
Thank you so much for reading. Thank you so much for your business. Thank you so much for your friendship, care and support. I look forward to connecting with you more in the weeks ahead. Please take gentle care in the meantime.
With much love and gratitude, Jennifer Kim