McALLEN, Texas (KVEO) — One McAllen bookstore has come up with an innovative way to reopen while maintaining extreme safety precautions.
J’aime les livres — which translates to I love books — closed its doors at the start of the pandemic and adapted to a tailored online book service, which owner Martha Medina says actually boosted sales.
“Basically, it’s like a blind date with a book, because once they answer the questions I figure out more or less what to send them,” Medina said. “So, it’s been pretty good and it has really helped during this time.”
With the majority of the year spent closed, Medina decided to reopen this weekend and offer a different kind of shopping experience.
“You can come in, I provide gloves outside and hand sanitizer and masks are required at all times,” she said. “Basically, you get to shop for 30 minutes”
Appointments for up to two people at a time are reserved through the bookstore’s Facebook page. For the first day back, Medina said the slots quickly filled up by both regular and new customers.
“There aren’t a lot of bookstores around here and I know they’re wanting to come back in here,” she said. “So this is my way of trying to get people in.”
Priscilla Chavez and her daughter were among the first to return.
“It’s been hard,” she said. “As soon as we walked in, it felt like being back at home.”
She’s been visiting the store for eight years and says the experience exceeded her expectations.
“You get to enjoy the store VIP by yourself and really look at the books and kind of think about what you want and it’s really nice,” she said.
This is Medina’s 10th year with the bookstore and while this year’s events were unexpected, she’s happy to have survived and will continue working to adapt to the times.
“I’m hoping everything works out for all our small businesses here in our community,” she said. “We’re all trying and I think we’re all doing a good job of trying to stay safe”
Appointments are available Monday through Saturday from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m.