Small Business Saturday: Community keeps independent Lafayette bookstore afloat

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday comes Small Business Saturday.

Posted: Nov 29, 2019 11:09 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday comes Small Business Saturday. It's a day to support your neighborhood sorefronts, and shop local.

Online options are hurting the owners of local businesses, but one independent Lafayette bookstore is thriving.

"It seems to happen every year during the holidays, that people seem to discover us who didn't know that we were here," said Tamzin Malone, owner of Main Street Books. "Then, once they discover us, they keep coming back."

Main Street Books opened in the 400 block of Main Street in Downtown Lafayette about five years ago. when another bookstore down the street closed.

"I said, 'How about instead of closing it, you sell it to me?' And then I kind of looked around to see who said that because that was a little bit nutty," recalled Malone.

She is the owner, and only employee of the bookstore.

"I said to my husband, 'Do you want to buy a bookstore?' He said, 'No.' So we did."

Opening a bookstore would have been a profitable business years ago. However, with more online options, Malone relies on the community to keep the it afloat.

"We have many customers who support the bookstore, who buy their books exclusively from us, when they could pay a little bit less and order it from... some evil river," said Malone, referencing online retail giant Amazon. 

While Amazon may be more convenient, she says shopping local is an experience.

"[Customers] feel like it is important to support a small bookstore."

People across the country will support local businesses this weekend. Small Business Saturday is Main Street Books' most profitable day. Malone said people want to know their dollar is helping their neighbors out.

"When you come in, you're going to be delighted," said Malone. "You're going to find things you didn't know you needed, books you didn't know you needed to read."

That's the difference that keeps this small business open.

"It's a labor or love. It will always be an uphill journey, but it's a lot of fun and very worthwhile."

Malone thanks her customers for helping them get by. Each year when they crunch the numbers, she said sales are going up.

Main Street Books is open Wednesday through Sunday at 426 Main Street, Lafayette, IN 47901. They sell new and used books, with an online ordering option as well. 

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