If you've never owned a business before, it's a very strange experience.
It is a lot like being a parent in many ways.
First off, they both require a LOT of time. You never really have a day off, because even when you aren't with them, they don't ever leave your mind.
They can both be very frustrating, because kids and businesses don't always act the way they are supposed to. You try and raise them well, but when they are born they are crapping everywhere.
And, in the back of your mind, you are hoping that they will take care of you when you get too old to go to work anymore by putting you in one of the very nice nursing homes...
The ones with the beautiful nurses that don't smell bad at all.
As they grow, they get both get increasingly difficult to manage without help and they grow a mind of their own.
But of course there are differences as well.
You can't burn down your children for the insurance money... at least not that I know of :)
I'm going to be a father for the rest of my life, and I'll be a business owner too... mostly because I am bad at jobs.
(I say that, but in all actuality, I've never tried one after college. Maybe when the job isn't washing windows or delivering pizza or bartending, I would be good at it.)
I'm writing this in the bookstore I'm shutting down, early in the morning. And it is starting to weird me out being here.
I think it's because the scale of my life is shrinking quite a bit. My impact on the world will be less for awhile and I don't like the feeling.
I won't be seeing customers.
I won't be sharing laughs and stories.
And I won't be able to serve people the best way I know how.
Now, this might sound a little confusing, since I am going to be selling books on the internet, and in actual numbers, I'll probably have more customers now than before...
But as we all know... the internet isn't real. I assume as much, because of how awful everyone is to each other...
So... this has been a pretty crazy rollercoaster ride. If you've been following us for awhile we thought we were going to have to close the store in August, and then we were able to renegotiate our lease to hopefully stay open for good.
During the time when things were in flux and we were pretty sure we were closing our doors, everyone was amazing and we were so appreciative.
Once things calmed down and we announced we were able to stay open after the renegotiation, things hit a wall in the store.
Which makes sense. People had come out to get their fill of books, and they were set for awhile.
So, I was a little nervous, but I thought we could wait it out and get back to normal.
In the meantime we processed 30,000 books to refill the shelves and keep on moving on.
But it never rebounded.
In fact, sales now are 50% of what they were in November of last year.
This is unsustainable to the point where if we don't close the store, we aren't even sure that we will be able to continue to make payroll into 2020.
And I'm unwilling to invest more money into this business. There just isn't a way forward for us.
I don't have any choice but to close down the store for good and close this business.
It is just too much overhead... and while a normal sized bookstore would LOVE to have our revenue, as you've seen, Murphy's is not normal sized.
As you can imagine, this is pretty devastating. It has been my dream to have a proper bookstore, and I love this place.
(NOTE: My father owns the Dollar Bookswap on Webster street and that business is not impacted by me having to close Murphy's. I haven't been a part of the DBS for a couple of years now.)
This is not a decision I make lightly, and I do realize this is going to be a disappointment to many.
But, as many of you know, I have a young daughter and a new bride. It is my obligation to do the best I can to help provide for my family.
While my daughter Sydney and my...
As we all know, Halloween is awesome :)
The ghoulies and the ghosties all come out to play...
And we want to give you some extra reasons to come out with them.
Our Halloween Party is on Saturday October 26th, this year from 12-2.
You can find out more about the event here on our Facebook page.
(Outside of opening your wallet and spending money, sharing our event posts and other social media posts we make is the absolute best thing you can do to help us spread the word about our business... including a link to this blog post)
The good news about our Halloween party is that if you come out and wear a costume, you get a free book* when you check out.
This is going to be the third one of these that we have had... and I want this to be better than ever!
We will have free popcorn and candy for trick or treat, along with crafts for kids, and maybe a few Halloween surprises :)
So, in order to celebrate my favorite holiday of the year, we are also having a contest to win free books for a year. If you want more info about that, then please click here.
There is always so much going on here at the store, and we can only do it because of support from all of you guys :)
And this is my favorite way to celebrate all of you!
It would be massively helpful to our business for you to share this blog post all over social media... it is the biggest way we have of getting the word out. And double happy thoughts and extra good juju for those of you in the media that decide to give us a mention. Supporting local businesses is what gives flavor to our city.
Think of Murphy's as a relatively bland spice that you don't know you need in your life until you hear your friends talking about it.
Pushed too far that metaphor can break bad... so we will leave it there and instead just simply ask you one more to tell your friends and families about us.
I hope to see you soon,
We know that kids end up starting school in the fall a little bit behind from where they stopped in the spring... and that makes perfect sense.
Summer can be full of days in the sprinklers, trips to the pool, lazy Saturdays, and a whole bunch more...
But, in order to keep kids from playing catchup in the fall, there are a few things we can do...
A big one is to get kids to continue to read 20 minutes a day.
It's one of the most important habits kids can pick up from us, and it's one we can help with.
We decided do our part by creating the Million Minute Challenge at Murphy's Used Books.
The Million Minute Challenge is a plan to do a couple of things at the same time.
1. Reading 20 minutes a day is super important... and we want to help kids get into that habit. Check out the reasons why in the chart below.
2. Owning books is incredibly important as well. In fact, recent studies show that having a well stocked library in your home goes a long way to make up for not having access to other educational advantages.
So the Million Minute Summer Reading Challenge goes towards hitting both of those problems.
Sign up here for the Challenge, and we will get started today. We have an online program where you can sign up your kids to track their reading...
It's pretty amazing. You earn points for reading time that you can redeem for different prizes... including free books in the store.
Also, you don't have to live in the area to participate! We can also ship your rewards including books anywhere in the United States.
We hope to see you there... Help us hit our Million Minute Goal!!!
We have the best community in the whole wide world right here at Murphy's. Some of you guys have been following me for years and some of you are just now part of what we are doing.
The t-shirt campaign we did went so well that we want to do another one. Except that this time we want to try something new.
It will not be a surprise to many of you that I have a very limited skillset. I'm relatively good at writing you guys emails that can sometimes make you giggle and make you remember to come and shop at my store. And I'm decent at selling books.
You might not know this though... the last job I had before I dropped out of grad school to work on my business was washing windows.
And I got fired for being VERY bad at it.
So... what are the chances that I will be able to design a bunch of really cool shirts you guys would love?
Instead, why not make it a contest?
So, here's what we are going to do. From now until March 8th at midnight we are accepting designs for two different categories of merchandise.
T-shirts and bumper stickers.
Then the community as a whole will choose the winners.
The winners get $100 in cash (or $200 in store credit) along with 10% of the sales of winning products during the launch campaign.
Here is what we need you to do. If you are interested in being part of the design contest you can join the Merch Mastermind here. It is totally free and is a community forum just for you guys.
If you just want to jump in and see what everyone else is doing and give ideas you can join too.
The big rule is be nice :)
If you have any questions.... join the community and ask them there!
So, my team here at Murphy's has been raving about a book, but I hadn't gotten around to reading it until I saw everyone going nuts about it on Netflix.
Being that the book is super popular, we didn't have any copies at the store, so I bought one from Amazon. (Which is honestly the only time it is ok... You have to check the bookstore first.)
The book is called Bird Box, and you can find it here.
It is post apocalyptic, which is something I super fancy, and to me what makes it extra terrifying is the kids. Kids in creepy stories always make the stakes higher in my opinion.
Also, what makes something the creepiest is when it is unseen. When we have an idea of something terrifying, but it's just out of the corner of our eyes, or on the other side of our blindfold. :)
The author does a great job of this, and I am definitely going to be checking out his other work
So if you are looking to see what all the fuss is about, you can check it out.
If you know much about me, then you probably guessed that I listened to the audiobook, which was deeply DEEPLY unsettling.
I have two different kinds of audiobooks that I listen to.
#1 For chores and driving... general life stuff.
#2 For laying in bed before I fall asleep.
This was definitely NOT a #2 kind of book.
If you get the book, let me know what you think.
P.S. I should give you guys a disclaimer, any of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means the store gets a little bit of money if you buy on Amazon through them.
I'd love to sell you guys copies of Bird Box here, but we haven't seen any yet. This is another way to support what we are doing without actually having to put on pants and brave the cold if you don't want to.
Together with my very good friend and fellow bookseller Sarah Jankowski, I am thinking about starting a podcast tangentially about books and bookstores. I've uploaded a demo that we recorded and I want you guys to take a listen and let us know what you think.
The best way to talk about it with us is in the Facebook group, Dayton Book Lovers.
You can join us here.
As always, thanks so much for all of your support.
We have a new customer loyalty program that is the absolute Bees Knees :) You are going to get a free book just for joining, but that is just the beginning.
There are three other ways to get free books using the new program.
But before we get to that, make sure you watch the video on this post to check out how to join from your phone :)
#1 Buying Books Like Always
This is a no brainer. To incentivize you guys even more to come hang out with us at the store every dollar that you spend at Murphy's is worth 5 points in our new rewards program. There are different reward tiers you can learn about here, but the more you spend, the more rewards you are eligible for.
#2 Checking In At The Store
Once you are a member of the loyalty program you can check in at the store to win prizes with just your phone number. No purchase required. There are all kinds of prizes you can win, just by checking in at the store including a $100 shopping spree :)
Checking in at the store is also how we are going to be doing all of our in store contests as well.
#3 Referring Your Friends
The feature I'm the most excited about is the ability to go into your customer portal and grab your personal link and post about the program to your friends. If they go through your link, set up an account and check in at Murphy's, you both get $5 in store credit!!!
This is going to be the thing that we think will really move the needle for us. We already know that we have the best community in the wide world, but now we can finally give back to you guys for helping get the word out there.
Once they are signed up and come into the store we can take it from there :)
In each of your new customer accounts there is also a wallet. That is where your rewards will go as well as store credit earned from buybacks. (No more using those business cards to write the store credit amounts on...
The First One is on Us :)