Extreme Makeover: Bookstore Edition
by Nick Davies
Back in June, the bookstore training group Paz & Associates announced that it would offer a $2,000 makeover to an independent bookseller, a prize that ended up going to Left Bank Books in St. Louis, which unveiled its new look this week, as seen in Shelf Awareness. The makeover contest was open to independent booksellers in the US that had been open for at least ten years and had up to 2,000 square feet that could benefit from the touchup; they decided on Left Bank because, per Shelf Awareness, “they saw they could make a difference and because Paz & Associates felt the store was deserving of the prize, would commit the necessary labor to implement the team’s recommendations and would apply makeover lessons to other areas of the store.”
Some of the obstacles Paz & Associates decided to tackle as they undertook the project were a cluttered atmosphere, with fixtures and spinning racks taking up floor space, all-white walls, and a stairwell to the downstairs area that was hard to spot from the main floor. The store and makeover team made it a priority to encourage customers to go downstairs, which they transformed into a dedicated area for young adult books called “The Underground.” Other improvements included adding lighting fixtures, repainting with brighter colors, repurposing furniture, and adding new signage for shelves and sections.
Left Bank co-owner Kris Kleindienst was thrilled with the results, saying, “We were able to finally achieve a beautifully thought out, relevant, unique and gorgeous new feel to our store without sacrificing our identity.” You can check out the results of the makeover on Paz & Associates’ website, and in this slideshow:
Before the makeover, Left Bank Books’ stairway was hard to spot, hidden behind bookshelves.
The stairwell post-makeover, much more noticeable.
The owners of Left Bank Books and Paz & Associates pose in the newly redesigned space.
Another angle on the store shows off the clean, uncluttered look of the new design.
Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.