This bookstore is coming to the Connecticut Capitol area

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A blogger, military veteran and nurse plans to open an independent bookstore in the southern suburbs of Hartford, Connecticut, this summer.

Belle and Karen Opper open That Book Store.

Karen Opper, who edited books for about five years on her blog Kissin Blue Karen, is a full-time nurse at a veterans hospital, but said her dream is to work with books for a living.

She was a combat medic in the army and served six years as a sergeant and squad leader in the 319th Medical Detachment before going to nursing college. She announced her plans for the bookstore on her blog under the heading “Taking My Love for Books to the Next Level”.

“I have always had a passion for books,” Opper said. Book sale this week. “I’m getting older. I can’t go back and start my career over again, but I’ve decided to open a bookstore.

Opper took a number of steps to make her dream a reality, including choosing the name That Book Store, which she registered with the State of Connecticut as a limited liability company or LLC.

Opper said the idea for the name came from her husband, who knew she didn’t want to have a formal name or use her last name. “Where am I going? I go to this bookstore. It’s grown on me and I’m really attached to it now,” Opper said.

A recent transplant from Florida, Opper said when she moved to Wethersfield, Connecticut, she searched for an independent bookstore nearby without success. This gave him the idea of ​​setting up an independent bookstore in his town or in the neighboring towns of Newington and Rocky Hill.

“I imagine myself to be a really comfortable and welcoming place,” she said. “You are comfortable as an adult, but it will also be whimsical and inviting enough for the kids to come to story time.”

A mother of four, Opper said her eldest, Belle Opper, 19, will run the store for the first six months while continuing to work full-time as a nurse.

A high school graduate who attended college in Florida before joining her mother’s business, Belle Opper said she was thrilled to be a bookseller.

“My mother always instilled the importance of words,” she said. “I want to help others open up to the idea of ​​reading and encourage younger children to read. I have always liked bookstores and there are no bookstores near us.

This bookstore has a comfortable reading chair in its logo.Belle Opper is the artist who created the store’s logo, which features the image of an upholstered armchair. She also plans to play a major role in a book zine planned as a reward for a recently launched Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for the store’s founding.

Karen Opper estimates that it will take $ 100,600 to open the 1,500 to 3,000 square foot store that she is considering, depending on the extent of the renovation of the space she is leasing. She hopes to raise $ 20,000 through crowdfunding and will invest $ 20,000 of her own savings. The rest, she plans to borrow from a bank.

Opper recorded a video on his YouTube channel to support his crowdfunding efforts. She has also uploaded dozens of other videos related to her blogging activity.

Opper estimates that she has reviewed around 600 books for her blog, mostly fiction, science fiction, and thrillers. She said she couldn’t wait to share this love for books in her own store. “I’ve never owned a small business before,” Opper said. “I want it to be as successful as possible. “

She prepared as much as possible: she got a federal tax ID, wrote a business plan, bought a website domain, and joined the American Booksellers Association.

“I scoured the ABA website and read everything I could,” she said. “The ABACUS study gave me a lot of information I needed to develop my business plan by showing me how bookstores are doing in the country and in my region. ABA also pointed me to affiliates like Kobo and Libro.fm. I read almost all of the links from current and past presentations which has helped me gain more knowledge and insight into selling books today. The DIY section provided me with graphs and statistical information to share on my website, and soon in my store.

A subscriber to Book sale this week, Opper said she enjoys reading the weekly news about the opening of other new stores around the country. She has already chosen her point of sale system after reading the options on the ABA website. “The forums have been my favorite part, where I can search past questions and answers given by professional booksellers,” she said.

She also called on the expertise of SCORE mentor John Molish, who retired after a 30-year career in publishing, including in business leadership roles at McGraw-Hill Children’s Publishing, St. Martin’s. Press, Tantor Media and others.

As SCORE’s go-to publishing mentor, Molish said he usually spends hours on the phone, but since he lives in Connecticut, he was able to meet Opper in person and take him to visit his own favorite bookstore: RJ Julia in Madison.

“I took him through this whole store and showed him how to face the books, how to make displays on tables, how to get the book into the hands of the customer – this whole basic bookstore,” Molish said.

He said he was impressed with Opper’s preparations. “She did a lot of homework. Her daughter is helping her. She did a good job on her business plan, ”Molish said. “She has thought of everything, and she has covered all the topics well and in detail.”


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