From bookstores to beauty shops, 25 Black-owned businesses in metro Phoenix

Corrections & Clarifications: In a previous version of this article, the name of Grassrootz Bookstore and Juice Bar was misspelled. 

Supporting Black-owned businesses on

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Planning on holiday shopping at Seattle-area indie bookstores? Better start now. Here’s why

If you typically do some of your holiday shopping at a Seattle-area independent bookstore, it’s time to start that shopping. Now.

The holiday season is typically a highlight of the year for bookstores, with customers swarming in to support local businesses and check off the names on their shopping lists. But this year will be different. Booksellers are anticipating shortages of popular books, and delays in getting shipments. And pandemic restrictions mean that very few customers can enter a bookstore at a time — which might mean that if you show up at the last minute, you’ll be waiting in line outside.

Local booksellers say that the issues with book production have been known for a while, but have been exacerbated by the pandemic. “I’ve been hearing it beginning in 2018,” said Christy McDanold, who this year celebrates 25 years of owning Secret Garden Books in Ballard. “The printing capacity has gone down, the number of printers has diminished.”

Large printing companies in the U.S. are under financial strain, made worse by shutdowns due to the pandemic and subsequent reopenings with fewer employees. Fewer books printed means fewer books going to distributors — who themselves have had pandemic-related issues with staffing their warehouses. Add in a paper shortage, and a publishing schedule in flux because many spring/summer books were pushed to fall, and you have a perfect storm of supply-chain gridlock.

All this doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t get the books you want this holiday season — but if you have your heart set on a specific title, order it now. “If we tell you that a book is going to take a while to come in, that’s going to be the same across the board unless another bookstore has it in stock,” said Annie Carl, owner of The Neverending Bookshop in Edmonds. Carl said she’s willing to call other bookstores if a customer wants a book that isn’t on her shelves. “That’s the really great thing about the book industry, especially the indie book industry — we’re all in this together.”

Tom Nissley, owner of Phinney Books and Madison Books, remembered the fun of bookstore holiday shopping before he was in the business, “spending half the day at Elliott Bay and choosing all my books for people.” Sadly, that sort of leisurely browsing will be more difficult this year. All bookstores now have limits on how many customers may be in the store; for a small store, that number might be in the single digits. This puts booksellers in a painful situation: No one wants to turn away a customer, or ask one to wait outside in the cold, but it’s necessary if the store is at capacity.

So how can customers help their local bookstores at this time of year? Shop early, shop early, shop early. Visit the store during quieter times; take advantage of store websites and phone ordering; know what genres your local store does and doesn’t carry. And, when you do show up at

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Why Independent Bookstores Want You To Do Your Holiday Shopping In October

Hundreds of independent bookstores are urging customers to do their holiday book shopping in October this year. As part of a new campaign by the American Booksellers Association, bookstores are posting graphics on social media stating “Buy Early – October is the New December,” stressing the importance of buying early, both to ensure that customers receive the titles they want without having to wait, and to keep stores’ cash flow steady.

According to Dan Cullen, ABA’s senior strategy officer, “Waiting to shop until December could be too late to get your presents on time and it could be too late for many small businesses.” Cullen cited a July ABA survey of 400 member stores, which found “that many have seen sharp sales declines over last year, and results suggest that some 20% of those surveyed may not survive until January 2021.”

Cullen said that supply chain and COVID-19-related disruptions “are anticipated for retail the closer we get to mid to late December,” due to lower printing capacity because of social distancing requirements and high demand, anticipated holiday shipping delays, and reduced capacity for in-person bookstore shopping. The Buy Early campaign was launched this month along with the ABA’s #BoxedOut campaign, launched last week timed to Amazon’s
AMZN
Prime Day, to highlight the importance of independent bookstores to their local neighborhoods. Bookstore storefronts were covered in sayings such as “Don’t let indie bookstores become a work of fiction” and “Books curated by real people not a creepy algorithm.”

LuAnne Locke, owner, Afterwords Books in Edwardsville, Illinois, said her store’s expecting “that the holidays will be topsy-turvy” due to shipping delays of new books and gifts. The bookstore has been closed to in-person browsing since mid-March, relying on affiliate purchases through their Bookshop storefront and audiobook sales via Libro.fm, as well as over 200 book bundles promoted on social media, with 20 added each week. The bundles cost $35 and include a mix of new and used books as well as “lit-inspired gifts.” Afterwords Books won’t be hosting its annual Holiday Open House, usually held the second Saturday of November; Locke said that day, plus Small Business Saturday, are typically their biggest sales days of the year.

Lisa Lamberson, co-owner of Bright Side Bookshop in

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