Business Beat: Bookstore finds success with niche, online sales

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About six months ago, Terry Carwile had a new business on his hands and a plan to make it his own.

And, with a little time for percolation, his changes have proved to be a robust blend within the local retail scene.

The staff of Downtown Books, 543 Yampa Ave., has seen a surge in its customer traffic since adding a coffee bar to its layout.

“Since Serendipity has closed, we’ve really picked up their coffee business,” he said. “A lot of people come in here first thing in the morning.”

The staff serves up java from the store’s back corner bar — which Carwile refurbished himself — while customers can peruse the selection of books, use the store’s free wireless Internet or just sit and relax in the cozy furnishings.

Carwile, who took ownership in March, said his employees have done a great job arranging the store in a way that welcomes customers and entreats them to stay. He said numerous groups have used the store as a meeting place.

“We’ve had the poetry group and more people have been talking about doing stuff like that,” he said. “We had a Chamber (of Commerce) mixer here, and we had about 100 people come in during the day.”

Besides reestablishing Downtown Books as a local favorite, Carwile has been working on broadening the store’s profile.

“We’re really starting to become a presence on Amazon,” he said. “I think we’ve sold to people from almost every state.

“We’re also doing Facebook and Twitter. Economic concerns are still tough all over, but I think people are finding good prices here.”

Carwile said one change he may make in the immediate future is extending store hours, though his staff treats customers the same whether it’s first thing in the morning or the end of the day.

“We don’t turn people away at quitting time,” he said.

Downtown Books’ business hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call 824-5343 or visit the store’s new site, www.downtownbooksincraig.com.

Garden outlet featuring sale, winter orders

One local nursery is pruning back its inventory.

Tunies & Such, 690 Yampa Ave., is offering sales on plants as part of the final days of summer.

The discounts include markdowns on all trees and shrubs. Assortments of perennial flowers are also available for $10, while bags of tree bark go for $5.

Owner Bob Meckley said his trees are generally among the biggest sellers once fall begins.

“It seems like this is the time when people want to start planting trees,” he said. “During the summer, they’re busy with kids and vacations and stuff like that, but once school starts, they want to get some new trees in the ground before winter.”

Depending on how long he keeps his materials in stock, Meckley will be offering the sale through mid-October.

After that, he will turn his attention to his winter wares — Christmas trees.

Meckley said he is taking requests well in advance for the seasonal items, which he gets shipped from suppliers in Michigan, Oregon and Washington.

“Now is the time to place an order so I can get an accurate count,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of people from Steamboat and Craig calling me about those already.

Tunies will set up its holiday inventory in November, including wreaths and garlands as well as trees, which the business displays upright in water bowls every year.

“We do flocking on the trees for free, and we have a machine that shakes loose all the dead needles,” he said.

For more information on the inventory at Tunies & Such or ordering a Christmas tree, call 824-4729.

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