Prepping to Start

Tenant Improvements will completely transform the store, and the preparation is happening now! Here is a list of what is underway and thanks for those who are helping:

  • Building Permit submittals are in thanks to Tekneek Architecture in Redmond – Larry and Eric have been great to work with.
  • Our landlord, David Rink, is serving as our General Contractor, providing the license we need and saving us substantially in our approach to the remodeling.
  • The biggest expense is the HVAC – but Randy Wallace has an past protégé who is virtually donating all the equipment and installation. Thanks to Don and Jimmy of Central Oregon Heating & Cooling.
  • Our next work party will be Saturday, May 4 and we hope to have a dozen folks working together emptying the front half, moving all fixtures, tearing out the floor and anything else we can do to prepare for the framing, plumbing and electrical work that will begin as soon as the Permit from the City is issued.
  • In the meanwhile we are accepting donations to purchase materials needed for the remodel; or in-kind donations. If you care to contribute to our efforts, learn more here or contact me at: frdamiank@outlook.com.

The Plan

Let me share with you the hot-points of the Plan – it will paint a picture you can follow as these updates are randomly posted.

  • We will take over the entire Open Book Inventory, but need to cull the inventory – too much of it has been there for many years and probably will never sale – think Pop Psychology, Self-Help, and Diet Books. If they did not work last year, no one wants to buy them and try again. So much of our culture is wash rinse and throw away – these books fall into that category
  • With the Help of our First Work Party, Kaisha (current owner) is having a blast with her treasure hunt of bringing to the front of the store the best of the best. At the same time, the back of the store is all on sale for ‘a buck a book’, or a bag full for $5-$10!!
  • We take over May 1st, but good news: Kaisha will remain as our ‘Book Maven’, doing what she loves part-time, while we run the whole operation.
  • We will empty the front and begin demo, as well as the things we can do prior to getting our permit from the City for the major tenant improvements.
  • Kaisha will ‘staff’ the back-half book store, keeping the customers satisfied, while we race to finish the remodel – targeting our opening by July 1. Her two volunteer helpers will be supporting the transition while we learn the details of the inventory

What to Do?

A major component of Agia Sophia’s Mission is to provide a focus on the pursuit of the topics we generally call ‘the Classics” – History, Literature, Religion, Philosophy and the elements of Culture upon which civilization and the spirit of man is uplifted. Within the 50,000 volumes at The Open Book, these treasures are buried. We will be bringing a greater focus, and introducing new titles that won’t be found elsewhere. Under the auspices of Agia Sophia, we hope to cultivate a clientele who appreciate this focus this new .

Yet 80% of the current revenue and the majority of regular customers come in for the well worn, recycled paperbacks not found anywhere else in Bend – Westerns, Mysteries, and Romance. What to do? Did the new vision demand abandoning the Open Book legacy? Then the ‘bells went off’ so to speak when wrestling with what to do with the bulk of the inventory. I had the thought: Folks who eat healthy at home, stop in for Coffee and Treats – even with a new focus on meaningful writing, events and conversation, the historical fiction so popular here suddenly appeared to me as another type of ‘treat’ to have with coffee & a pastery.

So, we are keeping that 80%, while we hope to cultivate a broader clientele, while we enjoy serving everyone who comes to Agia Sophia.

Our 1st Workparty

This past Saturday we had a dozen volunteers put in a heroic effort working at The Open Book.  We did a little bit of everything to with sorting, organizing, boxing and moving books and fixtures to get ready for our move and opening of the Agia Sophia Bookstore and Coffeehouse. Thanks, to the everyone (especially for the Teen Group and Oscar from Milwaukie, OR) for a great initial work party.

As you see, 50,000 books that have been in a revolving inventory since the mid 1980s can be overwhelming without the extra hands. The work we did made it possible to begin the process of sorting out what would be put on sale for a ‘buck a book’, and which volumes will be retained for the opening of the new operation.