As the buyer for the store, I spend a lot of time in an office away from the sales floor. But the holidays means all hands on deck, so I've been spending a lot of time at the front register and helping people in the store. I have really been struck by how common it is for people to inquire after the health of the business, or to give a supporting comment like "Glad you guys are still here." What this means is that the battle to make people aware of the plight of independent businesses is being won. People have come to understand that, if they don't want to do all of their shopping at Crate & Barrel, Target and Amazon, they have to visit those funky little stores they love so well. Might have to actually get out of one's pajamas, and might not always be the easiest finding a parking space, and yes, one might even spend a couple more bucks than one would shopping online.
That's the thing: almost everything we sell at Green Apple could be bought cheaper somewhere else, if one didn't mind waiting a couple of days for the UPS driver to drop it off. Sometimes we see folks scanning bar codes with their iphones, being all sneaky like we booksellers couldn't possibly understand they they are secretly shopping online! And yet about 10,000 of you come into Green Apple every month and support us with your purchases.
Businesses are supposed to have mission statements, a short expression of the core principles of the business. The one I come back to when we sit down to do some strategic planning is Green Apple: Because People Still Need to Leave the House. And that just about says it all. So thanks you loyal Green Apple customers, we'll still be here stocking the best books and music and movies and whatever else we can sell to keep the lights on, as long as you keep getting dressed and dropping by when you're in the neighborhood.