November 2014: How We Can Help Each Other

Dear Reader,


So here it is -- the day after Thanksgiving. I am hoping that the aura of gratitude imbues our days as we begin the holiday season. My gratitude certainly includes the unbelievable fact that R.J. Julia is heading into its 25th year.


Working at the bookstore and waiting on customers, we've not only had the pleasure of helping each of you find just the right book, but we've also absorbed the state of mind and mood of our community. And it gives me great pleasure to know that even in times of great stress, (the holidays just seem to be getting crazier every year), you enter our doors knowing it's a place to relax, run into friends, excitedly find a new book for yourself or loved ones and simply put, feel taken care of. In return, you've taken care of us by supporting our store year after year after year (I would repeat it 25 times but you get the idea). Yet, are you aware what good you're doing, not only for yourself, and our store, but for the community, and the overall economy every time you shop local? Yes? No? I'll tell you anyway...


  • For every $100 you spend in a locally owned store, $73 stays in the local economy, whereas $100 spent in national chains returns $43 to the local economy. Unsurprisingly $100 spent online to an out-of-state retailer returns zero dollars to our communities. This can mean less money to your neighbor's design business or your jeweler or the loss of your friend's job.
  • 90% of jobs created in Connecticut come from businesses employing under 50 people -- much higher than the national average -- with 75% of all people working for companies with less than 10 employees. Think about it. Buy a gazillion books from us and we'll have to knock more walls down!
  • Nationally speaking, to put it in a bigger perspective, if only half the employed population spent $50 in locally owned independent businesses, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue migrating to local communities.


Keeping your dollars local keeps your favorite local stores -- and neighbors -- in business and keeps our community strong. I am reminded of our connection to community as I look forward to Thanksgiving weekend with the bookstore buzzing from the energy of friends and family catching up with each other, chit-chatting or taking the time to sit down to have coffee. I particularly love seeing the kids who have worked for us over the years coming in to share their stories, their accomplishments, information about their marriages -- yikes, even the stories of THEIR children -- it really feels like a Town Square.


And the nice thing is, there are others who want to thank us just for doing what we love to do...


This Saturday (which is also Small Business Saturday), is the "Indies First" Authors Extravaganza -- local authors are rallying to show their support of independent bookstores by becoming booksellers for a day which is pretty neat. And the list of authors who will be stopping by keeps on growing. Who can you expect? Here's the short list: Kristan Higgins, Sherri Daly, James Benn, Jason Marchi, Frank Dormer, Bob Shea, Suzanne Palmieri...and plenty more. They'll be greeting you, offering book suggestions and signing books. They're stopping by so you'll support us which is really a win-win for everyone. Click here for more info.


I hope you'll join us tomorrow. The event is all day and it's a great chance to rub shoulders with your favorite local authors and pick up some great books for the people on your list (and get signed copies) -- don't forget yourself.


So here's my pitch -- as you decide how to spend your hard-earned money, please go to your local hardware store, local jeweler, local pharmacy, local sports shop and your local bookstore. We are in this together.


See you in the store. And thank you for shopping local!


Roxanne J. Coady