June 14, 2021
Dear Avid Readers,
Do you miss walking into Avid as much as we miss seeing you inside the bookshop? Good news: we'll reopen for browsing on Saturday, August 7th. Until then, we'll continue to serve you via phone, online, or via our walk-up door service.
We hope nothing will throw a wrench into our plans, but we are prepared to handle unexpected problems as they come. Therefore, the reopening plans as outlined below are subject to change--think of them as the best-case scenario based on what we know now. If we have to alter any of our plans, we will of course keep you posted.
Please take a few minutes to read the full announcement & FAQs below.
Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to recieve updates.
Janet Geddis, owner/founder
You've been closed to the public since March 2020. When are you reopening so that browsers can come inside?
We'll reopen for browsing on Saturday, August 7th. We'll be open from 11-4 that day.
OMG, I'm so excited. Can we have a party?
We have decided not to host an outdoor party on August 7th as originally announced--it's not feasible for us just yet. But rest assured we plan to host a birthday bash in October when we at Avid Bookshop mark our 10th anniversary!
Will you limit the number of people in the shop?
Yes. Because we know y'all are as eager to come back as we are to see you, we expect the shop might become overwhelmingly crowded if we don't monitor the traffic flow. We're looking into ways to limit capacity without requiring a dedicated staff member to stand at the door like a bouncer. We'll make sure the system is easy to understand with guidelines posted at the door.
Will I have to wear a mask to enter?
Yes, and we thank you sincerely for doing so. As a private business, we are requiring anyone over the age of five to don a properly worn mask (one that fully covers the mouth and nose) before walking inside.
Do I have to wear a mask inside the bookshop if I am fully vaccinated?
Yes, the mask rule still applies even if you've been fully vaccinated.
What if I forget my mask at home? Do you have one I can wear?
We won't be providing free masks, but you are welcome to buy a reusable cloth mask from us at the door (while supplies last). You can also come back another time when you have a mask on.
I don't want to wear a mask, but I want to shop for books. What about me?
We hear you--mask fatigue is part and parcel of pandemic fatigue! We won't be making exceptions to this rule, but that doesn't mean we can't help you find some great books and gifts. You can shop online 24/7 at avidbookshop.com, call our customer service line at 706-850-2843, or contact us. Booksellers will be happy to assist you.
What will the regular store hours be?
Starting August 7, we'll have an amended in-store shopping schedule. We'll be open four days each week: Wednesday - Saturday, 11am -4pm.
Why aren't you opening with the hours you kept pre-pandemic?
We don't have the ability to keep longer hours just yet. We'll be accommodating not just in-store shoppers but those who rely on us for all of the other services we provide (business-to-business sales, bulk sales, subscriptions, #AvidSnailMail, school sales, special requests, etc.).
Okay, I get the limited hours now. But I don't get why are you taking sooooo lonnngggg to allow browsers inside again. Can you explain a bit?
Our goal is to be as thoughtful and deliberate as possible as we welcome browsers back into the shop. I want and need to keep the booksellers' mental and physical health at the forefront of all decisions. We are proud to provide some of the best customer service around, and we want to keep those high standards. But you know all the metaphors (airplane oxygen mask going on yourself first and all that). Providing exemplary, empathetic, and informed customer service isn't possible if the employees are stressed out or overly taxed. One way we are guarding the staff's mental reserves--and, in turn, the quality of service you have come to expect from us--is to start slowly. Our decision to open in August gives us space and time to do this right so that Avid Bookshop is here for the long haul: strong, sustainable, and healthy.
Okay. Good answer. But I'm still scratching my head a bit about the timeline. I mean, what all do you have to do? Why not just open the doors next week?
The most thorough answer to this would take too long to type, so I'll try to be uncharacteristically brief. We handed in our #AvidOnPrince keys in early February 2020, right before we had any inkling of how COVID-19 was about to change everything. Starting in March 2020, we began shifting our business model almost daily. (Facebook even featured us as one of the outstanding small businesses pivoting at a rapid pace!) Some staff members had already moved on from Avid before the pandemic started, and others ended up leaving or reducing their hours due to various life circumstances. The booksellers and I have always worked hard, but it's fair to say that, in the last 15 months, we've worked more intensely than ever before. We had to create and then learn completely new systems for recommending and selling books, hosting virtual events, keeping up with web orders, and more. We are pooped. To top it all off, we haven't even had the chance to get acclimated to having a one-store business model again (and we haven't been able to make much headway with the furniture, fixtures, displays, and supplies that we ferried from Prince Ave. to our Five Points basement).
Oof. Um, this sounds more complicated than I had guessed. Are y'all doing okay? How can we support the booksellers?
If my answer sounds simple, that's because it is: keep buying local first and supporting us financially as you're able. We haven't missed or delayed payroll even once since the pandemic started, and having that financial security (as a business and as a worker) means we don't use our precious energy reserves to figure out how to move money around and establish the order in which we can afford to pay publishers. Don't have any books or gifts to buy at the moment but have some bucks you could pass along to this little bookshop that could? We gratefully accept donations via Venmo (@avidbookshop) or via this direct link to our PayPal. Perhaps you want to buy yourself a generous gift card. Our gift cards never expire, so you can buy one now and treat your future self to some books and gifts next time you need them.
What else would be helpful for us Avid readers to know?
I want you to know that I am working thoughtfully and diligently to do right by my booksellers and my community (that's you). From mental health check-ins at every weekly staff meeting to professional development seminars to giving staff paid time off (PTO) on top of our usual PTO policies, I'm working very hard to be a supportive boss. In fact, I am giving my staff another paid week off starting July 5th (we'll announce details on our site and via social media), and we're tackling the more complex aspects of reopening by planning as a team. I know you know that we have always had extraordinary staff members (in fact, I get compliments on the Avid team not just in Athens but whenever I attend any national conferences!). The current team has become especially close and interdependent, and it's so rewarding as the business owner/founder to see how smoothly we support each other and anticipate our coworkers' needs. It bodes well for Avid's future and means that, when it's time for us to hire someone else, a new staff member will be welcomed into a genuinely supportive, healthy workplace. It would be impossible for me to verbalize how meaningful that is to me.
All right, Janet. You really Janet-ed these FAQs with the longest Janet-y answers ever. Anything else you want to say before I close my email?
One thing I’d ask you to do is to practice presuming positive intent with us and other small businesses. Please know we are making the best decisions for our company and customers. Pair our small footprint (that was nearly halved right when we closed #AvidOnPrince shortly before the pandemic changed everything in the U.S.) with the fact that we, like every indie bookstore at some points over the last 16 months, are now set up as a shipping and order fulfillment center. Our sales floor is not oriented for customers the way it used to be. It’s a mess of desks and boxes and books and invoices and computer cords, a kind of organized chaos. In a trauma-free, stress-free time, it would take us a couple of weeks minimum to get the shop ready to welcome browsers. But to do so in the days of a waning pandemic while staff members are exhausted and while we’re living through a collective trauma we’ve not been able to start processing yet? It's a lot to try to balance. Please know that your continued support of Avid Bookshop (and other Athens businesses that are just trying to make it day by day) will shore us up so that we can reopen when we're able and ready: on Saturday, August 7th. All this is to say we can never know the full reasons behind a business’s policies, but if we shop at the places where we respect the mission, community offerings, and/or leadership, we can feel good about how we, as consumers, are voting with our dollars. I sincerely hope that my booksellers and I have earned our community’s trust and that you support our decisions because we have a decade-long record of trying to do the next right thing. ❤️
What if something unexpected comes up? Will you alter your opening date or guidelines?
We hope nothing will throw a wrench into our plans, but of course we are prepared to handle unexpected problems as they come. Therefore, the above plans are subject to change--they are a best-case scenario based on what we know now. If we have to alter any of our plans, we will of course keep you posted.
Avid Bookshop remains closed to the browsing public. To shop, look for virtually any title in print on our website 24/7. You can also give us a call 706.859.2843 or visit our shop door for service Monday-Saturday 11:00am-4:00pm,. For help, visit our FAQ or Contact Us.
We are gradually working toward reopening our shop to browsers later this summer. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to find out as soon as we announce our reopening date. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Late October 2020
For various reasons*, we need a break.
We’ll be closed the day after Election Day. We invite you to take a day of rest, reflection, and relaxation with us. My deepest, most sincere hope is that on November 4th we will be exhaling a deep sigh of relief after having received news that forward-thinking, human-rights-oriented leadership, both locally and nationally, is coming.
*including but certainly not limited to the following:
- the pandemic
- the political climate
- the climate crisis
- the daily pivoting we’re all doing to just keep our heads above water
- the weight of white supremacy
- the vicious tone set by many of those in power
- the overwhelming and often suffocating anxiety we’re all attempting to muddle through each day
- Zoom fatigue
- home schooling
- caregiver exhaustion
- health problems
- the intensity with which we miss loved ones
- the grief of having to say goodbye to people and local businesses and organizations that we value so deeply
- the constant messaging from the White House that we simply do. not. matter.
- missing our social lives
- missing being able to touch another human
What it means for you
You can still place orders online (we hope you do), but we won’t be processing them until booksellers return to work on November 5th.
You can call us, but you’ll get a recording saying we’re closed for the day on November 4th. Booksellers will respond to voicemails beginning November 5th.
We hope you have the privilege of being able join us in spirit, to take some time to put your feet up, go for a walk, disengage from social media, and feed your soul.
What it means for us
Traditionally, Avid Bookshop is closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Since mid-March 2020, the shop floor has been closed to browsing, but we've stayed open as a business by serving you online and via phone. We have no plans to reopen for browsing for the foreseeable future, but we aim to stay in business with web and phone orders until it’s safe for everyone to share space. We appreciate your understanding and our desire to keep all of us—you included!—supported and healthy.
This will be first meaningful break we’ve had as a business since pre-COVID. We’ve been going nonstop and really need a dose of self-care.
Thank you for respecting our decision to take a break; we'd love to hear from you about what you're doing to make sure you are taking care of yourself. Have a good book you picked up this year but haven't started yet? This might be a perfect time.
Much love, and I mean that.
written with feedback and input from the Avid Bookshop staff
August 7, 2020
Your attention, please: We have expanded our customer service hours! Phone* service and contactless pick-up are now offered 6 days a week (Monday-Saturday) between 11 am and 4 pm. We are not open for browsing for the foreseeable future, but we look forward to connecting with you via phone or social media.
*That's right: you can call us at 706-850-2843 and talk with an Avid bookseller who's eager to make book recommendations, answer questions, and more!
A letter from Janet
May 27, 2020
Hi! I promise I'll be quick. I need y'all to know about two changes taking effect June 1st.
- We're changing the threshold for our free shipping on website orders to $75+ (up from $50+) beginning June 1, 2020
- We're adding an option for contactless curbside pick-up starting with web orders placed on or after June 1, 2020
Read more details and the reasons behind these changes and other frequently asked questions here. Our store floor remains closed to the public until further notice. Thank you!
Janet Geddis, owner/founder
Update on Tuesday afternoon, May 12, 2020
To our dear customers, friends, loved ones, and neighbors:
You will be relieved to know that we are keeping your health and ours at the forefront of all business decisions.
Bearing that in mind, the shop floor is still closed to the public, and we are NOT offering curbside pickup.
This is what is best for our work flow, our booksellers, and YOU. We miss you, too, but it's just not time for us to relax our operations in any way. Stay as healthy as you're able, and we'll be happy to assist you with any and all avidbookshop.com orders.
Janet & the crew
Update Tuesday afternoon, April 28, 2020
Avid Bookshop is closed to browsing customers until further announcement. We are shipping all orders; curbside pickup is not being offered at this time.
We are OPEN online at avidbookshop.com 24/7, and you can call us Monday - Friday, 10am - 3pm if you have questions or concerns (706-850-2843).
Avid is still here and able to make payroll because of your online support. Thank you, and we'll see you in person once it's safe to do so.
Update Monday morning, March 30, 2020:
Thanks to the huge outpouring of support, our staff are working around the clock to fulfill your orders. Orders may be delayed a few extra days due to hiccups in our supply chain. Our reduced staff is working overtime to ship books out to you as soon as they arrive. We appreciate your patience.
Our store floor remains closed until further notice. Curbside pickup remains suspended. If you have not already paid or requested it and would like your book(s) shipped, you may pay $5 (flat, for all quantities) to our Venmo @avidbookshop or PayPal. Please contact us with your address.
Update Friday afternoon, March 20, 2020:
In-store pickup (and curbside pickup) has been suspended until further notice.
Our store floor will be closed until April 7.
Sunday evening, March 15, 2020
We hope this announcement finds you safe and sound. Most of our fans probably already have a book or five you're looking forward to spending time with while we all practice social distancing and help flatten the curve.
For the safety of our staff and our community, we are temporarily closing our sales floor to the public starting Monday, March 16, through Sunday, March 29. We will have a bookseller answering phone calls and arranging pickups (suspended as of 3/20/20) betweek 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
While this means you won't be able to stop inside and browse around or attend any events, you'll still be able to visit us online at avidbookshop.com where you can browse and shop as our team continues to fulfill orders and answers the phone. While it'll never replace the real thing, try browsing our staff favorites, check out our 2019 favorites, browse our bestsellers. We currently have a special on free shipping on orders over $50.
Prefer audiobooks? Shopping on Libro.fm helps us too! Already have all you need right now? Look foward to the future and place a pre-order or one of our monthly, hand-picked book subscriptions. Consider buying a gift card for yourself, making it it easy for you to give us a call any time to order something and say "put it on my gift card" like a very fancy person. Or, alternatively, you can buy card for someone else too, sharing with someone your love for us with someone else. If anything, simply sharing our links and posts with friends and family helps immensely.
If you ordered a book for in-store pick-up please read below how you can still arrange a pick-up or delivery.
We have so many creative ideas on how we’re going to continue to share our love for reading and Athens while staying safe. Be on the lookout for some fun surprises! Sign up for our newsletter to stay on top of the latest happenings.
Finally, we should greatly emphasize that for some of us, we’re entering into a time of great uncertainty. So, we understand if you’re unable, but, if you can spare it, we are also graciously accepting donations in any amount.
Thank you and continue to order online from us! We've been getting so much love!