Rediscovered Books will increase its footprint by 50 percent in downtown Boise, and is offering store credit and discounts for customers who help with crowdfunding to cover renovation costs. The bookstore is adding a second entrance and more space by taking over the space of the Lux Fashion Lounge, which is moving a block west on Idaho Street to a space formerly occupied by Babcock Design Group.
The move will add 1,300 square feet of space to the existing 2,200 square feet now occupied by Rediscovered Books, said bookstore co-owner Bruce Delaney.
The bookstore is financing some of its expansion and renovation by selling “Bookstore Bonds” and other incentives, such as T-shirts and book subscriptions, on crowdfunding website Indiegogo. The store had raised $5,110 as of May 19. For the bonds, the store will offer supporters a gift certificate for books, plus a 10 percent discount, when the larger bookstore opens in September.
Delaney said the store has bank financing to cover the expansion, but the Indiegogo campaign will help repay the loan more quickly.
“Effectively, what we’ve chosen to do is pay that interest to our customers who want to invest in us rather than pay our bank,” he said. He said the store would still be able to sell books at a profit after offering the 10 percent discount on what are effectively gift certificates. Lux is running a similar promotion on its Facebook page, offering people a $25 gift certificate for $20 to help with its move.
The bookstore will likely add carpeting to the Lux space and upgrade its furniture and book fixtures. Delaney said store will also have to redo its cash register area to account for the two entrances, though it won’t have registers by each door. With the extra space, the bookstore will have more books and more space for readings and events. But it’s not adding a coffee shop.
“There are nine coffee and tea shops within three blocks of us. Downtown does not need us to do that,” Delaney said. “Rather than be something that we’re not, we’re going to be more of what we are.”
Delaney said book sellers in Idaho and nationally are faring well, and that there may be a myth that people aren’t reading or shopping for books as much. The American Booksellers Association, a trade group for independent bookstores, says the number of stores has risen consistently for the past five years.
“It’s not like books are going away. Downtown is a great place to have and to be a bookstore,” Delaney said. He said Rediscovered Books has fared well because its employees also offer strong customer service.
“I think we are able to survive and grow because we are offering something that people don’t realize they want, necessarily, until they come in the first time, and then they treasure it,” he said.
Karen Sander, executive director of the Downtown Boise Association, said its fabulous that Rediscovered Books is expanding.
“They’re good business operators. They activate their space, bringing authors and doing fun in-store events. They’ve really made that a destination store,” she said. Sander said the store is a good example of an omni-channel retailer, which lets customers shop in-store or online and offers different, engaging experiences for consumers.
“It’s no longer about opening up the doors and expecting people to come in,” she said.
Delaney credited the Capitol Terrace Building’s owners, Roper Investment Co., with letting the bookstore’s owners knock down a wall to expand.
“It wouldn’t have been something we could have done without the Ropers looking at it and thinking it was a good idea,” he said. Delaney said the building owners will act as the general contractor and that Sundell Architecture in Boise helped design the remodel. He said he hopes bookstore hours will be only minimally disrupted during the expansion, with few closures and most of the intensive work happening during evening or off hours.
“We really can’t afford to be closed for a month,” he said.
The expanded store will have a re-opening on Sept. 6, the store’s anniversary. The larger store will have more employees. Currently, Rediscovered Books has six full-time and three part-time employees. Delaney said at least three part-time positions will be added.