By Andrea Reay, Executive Director, Discover Burien
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Jenny Cole to chat about why her and her partner Bill Virgin chose to open their business in Burien. Discover Burien recently welcomed Jenny and Bill’s business, Page2Books, to the community in April with a ribbon cutting.
I asked her why she and Bill decided to open their business in downtown Burien. She replied “It starts with our loyal customer base, built over many years by the previous owner. In a business like book retailing, if you don't have that you don't have much of anything. We wanted a new location that had more space and visibility, but we also didn't want to stray too far from our customers.
We also knew a little about Burien, since I'd worked there for Dr. Schmidt for a dozen years, and our daughter goes to school at Three Tree Montessori. Bill also knew one of the businesses just down the street, Scott Law's Electric Train Shop, through the newsletter he publishes about railroads.
We were fortunate to find a great space in a great location. We like the feel of downtown Burien -- the vibrancy, the mix of local independent stores and restaurants. Our existing customers moved with us, and we've been able to attract new customers who saw the store while walking or driving by and decided to check us out. So far downtown Burien is working out well for us.”
Jenny and I also talked about what customers can expect when they enter the shop. “We hope they find the store warm and inviting, well organized and neat, with a broad selection of categories and titles”, Jenny offered. “Beyond that, we hope they feel welcomed -- they can get help and questions answered to find a specific book, or they can just browse until they discover exactly the book they want that they didn't know they wanted until they came in. That sort of service is how bookstores will survive. You can buy books lots of places. What will bring customers in and keep them coming back is service and a connection to the community.
We've expanded several of our sections, including children's (it's encouraging to see how many enthusiastic young readers there are). We now carry a number of new books, and customers can order books and have them ready for pick-up very quickly. We also make a point of carrying books by local and regional authors, and have had many events with authors appearing in our store to discuss their books and sign copies.
We also offer a full range of services from book ordering to want lists (tell us what book you're looking for, and if it comes in we'll hold it for you), to discounts for teachers.”
My conversation with Jenny ended with a discussion about community, and how and why she and Bill participate. “It’s very important to us because being a local bookstore with a strong connection to the community is one of the keys to survival for independent businesses”, Jenny said. “We're members of Discover Burien, we participate in the monthly arts walk, and we have a full calendar of events designed to draw customers to our store and downtown Burien. We look forward to hosting a Where’s Waldo Scavenger hunt in July and working with many other local businesses to create a fun event that will bring people into Burien. Page 2 Books is also thrilled to help showcase the work of many local artists and authors.
Our book review group is open to all readers and meets at 6:00 pm on the second Thursday of each month. We have a wonderful volunteer, Belinda, who reads books to children during our story time.”
Discover Burien is proud to welcome this new business to our community. Are you thinking of opening a business in Burien? Do you have a new business and are looking for new ways to connect to the community or engage your customers? Discover Burien offers free trial memberships and would be happy to help. Just contact our office or send us an email.
For more information on local businesses as well as specials and discounts offered by member businesses please visit www.discoverburien.com.