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Interview with Caleb Martin, Owner of Bookworm Bookstore in Portland, Oregon
1. How did you get started with Bookworm Bookstore?
Well, I've always had a passion for books, and I wanted to share that passion with other people. So, about five years ago, I decided to open up my own bookstore in Portland, Oregon. It was a risky move, but I knew it was something I had to do.
2. What were some of the challenges you faced when starting your business?
Oh, there were countless challenges. The biggest challenge was probably getting people to come into the store in the first place. We were a small, independent store competing with bigger chains and online retailers. It took a lot of hard work to get the word out and get people in the door.
3. What steps did you take to overcome those challenges?
We got creative. We started hosting book clubs, author events, and other community events. We also started selling some unique items like stationery and local art which brought in new customers. We made sure to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere in the store to be different than the bigger chains.
4. At what point did you realize your business was going to be successful?
Honestly, it was unexpected. We had been open for about two years and were doing well, but it was challenging to keep up with the changing retail landscape. One day, I decided to try using Shopify's ecommerce platform to sell our inventory online. The response was incredible. Our online sales surged, and it gave us the boost we needed to expand our business.
5. How did Shopify help your business grow?
Shopify made it easy to manage our inventory, process orders, and connect with customers online. It helped us reach a global audience that we otherwise wouldn't have been able to reach. We also improved the in-store experience by making checkout easier with their point-of-sale system.
6. Tell me about the unexpected success you've had with your business.
Thanks to Shopify, we've been able to expand our business and sales steadily. We now have an online store and we've also started selling on Etsy. We've been able to hire more staff, and we are even considering opening another location in the city.
7. What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own bookstore?
Be patient, and don't be afraid to get creative. Bookstores are more than just a place to buy books, they're a community for book lovers. Think about how you can connect with and serve that community both in-store and online. Finally, never underestimate the power of a good cup of coffee and comfortable seating.
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