Calif.'s Flashlight Books to Reopen Tomorrow

Flashlight Books, the children's bookstore in Walnut Creek, Calif., will reopen tomorrow after being closed for six weeks of renovations. Owners Shoshana Smith and Marian Adducci, who launched an IndieGoGo to help fund the store last April, opened the store as a pop-up shop in their unrenovated space over the holidays, selling books there December 7-30.

The 1,800-square-foot space had previously been a Radio Shack and then a clothing store. When Flashlight Books opened in December, there were metal racks on the walls that had been used for hanging clothes, and a roughly 12-inch-wide, 4-inch-high step running along the base of the walls, preventing them from putting anything flush against the walls. The space also still had two former changing rooms in the back, which Smith noted were "pretty useless" for a bookstore.

With the renovations complete, the step along the walls and the metal racks has been removed, and the middle wall between the two changing rooms is gone, creating a small room suitable for tutoring or book clubs. Flashlight Books has now been able to put large shelves directly against the walls and there is much more space for the store's inventory.

"We probably had about 40% of our real inventory capacity in December," said Smith. "It looks a lot more like a real bookstore!"

Flashlight Books will celebrate the reopening with a pair of events. On Tuesday, March 5, Smith and her colleagues will welcome their local Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and on Saturday, March 16, they will host a grand opening bash for the public.

Smith added that they've been incredibly lucky when it comes to support from others in the book industry. "We only managed to have any bookshelves at our pop-up at all because another local store was getting rid of some, and we had a lot of bookseller and rep friends helping us with shelving and set-up with both openings. We know the renovations were a risky move because it minimized our community presence for a long time, but we're hoping we'll bounce back."

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