Coronavirus Update 5: Soft Reopening!

Hello readers!

Good news! The news you’ve been waiting for! Per Colorado guidelines and with great caution and many safety measures, Old Firehouse Books will be softly, and on a limited basis, reopening for browsing!

Starting Monday, June 8th, we will be opening our doors once again so you can come in and peruse the shelves. There are, however, some hard limits that we are imposing due to the pandemic and social distancing guidelines.

  • We will be open for browsing from 10am to 2pm. (This is a week-long trial period. We may possibly have longer hours soon if things go well!)
  • ONLY FIVE (5) CUSTOMERS will be allowed in at a time. We will have a staff member at the door monitoring capacity.
  • Masks are required and you will be asked to sanitize your hands before entering (sanitizer provided). 
  • Customers will be given a basket and asked to put everything they touch in it. Bring the whole thing to the front counter when you’re ready to check out, buy what you would like, and hand the rest off for sanitizing.
  • Browsing time is limited to approximately 30 minutes. Since only 5 people can come in at a time, this will help us gain steady turnover so that more people can come browse. Please be understanding of your fellow shoppers waiting outside!
  • We are NOT accepting used books for trade right now.
  • We will not be accepting cash at this time; all kinds of credit/debit accepted.
  • We ask that if you come down to browse, you do have the intent to buy. We don’t have a lot of staff, time, or money to spare. If you’re just coming to window shop or have a day out, we cannot currently afford to accommodate that.

When you arrive at the store, ring the bell; someone will come to check your mask and let you in or ask you to wait for someone to leave to maintain the 5-person limit. And just like that: you’ll be surrounded by books once again! We know you all have been missing the experience of being in the bookstore, and we hope that this limited browsing will help alleviate that feeling until it is safe for us to reopen fully and normally. (Please keep in mind you take your chances when coming down to browse. You may not be able to get in as soon as you arrive, so plan accordingly. We are considering having a wait-list, but would like to see how this new operation goes before adding another step.)

Of course, non-contact shopping is still the safest. Ordering online and having your books shipped to you is still the best, least-virus-spreading option you can take (although, since we are nominally open again, we can no longer offer free shipping; our regular shipping fee of $4.25 (+$1 per additional book) will be back in effect). We will continue offering curbside pick-up, so if you’re not comfortable coming into the store, you can drop by and have a no-contact hand-off. And delivery will still be available to our designated delivery area for people who are isolating at home–we must add a $3 delivery fee to cover the cost of gas and mileage. Thank you for your understanding as we manage our operational costs and work to get back on our feet.

(If I use the word “still” any more, will it lose all meaning?)

We ask for your patience as we adjust, once again, to this new way of conducting business. We’ve been reinventing ourselves every month this year, and everything is in constant flux. Some of our staff will continue working from home, some of us are more comfortable working behind the scenes, and some of us are willing to be around customers once more. As our booksellers’ safety and comfort–and yours–takes precedence, we’re running with limited staff in the store while customers are browsing. There might be some lag time as we adjust again, but worry not: Phones are still going to be answered, emails are still going to be replied to, shipments and orders are still going to be processed. We are still going to be grateful.

Grateful that you have kept us going through a situation lasting far longer than anyone anticipated. Grateful that you have kept our lights on long enough for our doors to reopen, even a crack. Grateful that you have stuck with us through three reinventions of our business model. Your support has seen us through, in the form of web orders and kind messages, GoFundMe donations and encouraging words. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: you are the best patrons this store could ask for.

We look forward to seeing you back among our stacks!

–the Staff at OFB

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