World Eye Bookshop opens Florence satellite

Karen Wendler and Debran Brocklesby, staff at the World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield, talk recently about opening a new store in Florence.

Karen Wendler and Debran Brocklesby, staff at the World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield, talk recently about opening a new store in Florence. PAUL FRANZ Purchase photo reprints »

GREENFIELD — In the age of digital e-readers, which allow you to tap a screen and upload a 400-page book within seconds, one small, local bookstore has found a way to expand.

“We’re not making millions, but we’ve found a way to open another store in Florence,” said Jessica Mullins, who bought World Eye Bookshop at 156 Main St. from Ann Smith on Jan. 1, 2011, and has now opened a smaller store next to Cup and Top Cafe on Main Street in Florence.

Smith had owned the Greenfield bookstore for 32 years before selling it to Mullins, 36, who worked for Smith in the bookstore for 19 years.

“I have no intention of leaving Greenfield,” said Mullins. “That is our ‘mother’ store, a bigger store (about 2,500 square feet). The one in Florence will be our ‘daughter’ store (about 800 square feet).”

Mullins said the second location will “need the Greenfield store.”

She said her employees – two full-time and four part-time, including her mother, who worked for Smith 27 years ago — will work between the two stores.

“I’ll be increasing their hours,” said Mullins.

She said she wasn’t looking to expand — it was all due to happenstance.

“The space in Florence opened up and Cup and Top did a survey to see what people wanted to go in there,” said Mullins. “When they found out people wanted a bookstore, they approached me.”

Mullins said she didn’t jump at the idea.

“It wasn’t until, by chance, some customers who had moved to Florence and Northamptom came into World Eye and told me they wished I would open a store down there that I really started thinking about it,” said Mullins.

She said the store in Florence is open, but not yet at full capacity. She said there will be a grand opening in November.

Mullins said both stores cater to children, but the Florence store will focus even more on the younger crowd.

“We’ll donate to both communities now, hold fundraisers, and be actively involved in both communities,” she said.

Mullins said World Eye is a “perfect fit” for both towns.

“People in both areas seem to really like holding a real book when they read,” she said. “Many of them own digital readers, but when they find a book they really care about, they want to come to us and get a copy.”

Mullins said World Eye is doing well, but isn’t making lots of money.

“We’ve learned how to trim the fat,” she said. “The entire staff spent the first year I owned the store looking at every aspect, every detail.”

Mullins said in doing so, the store pays close attention to what sells and what doesn’t.

“I look at every report and if it isn’t selling, I get rid of it,” she said. “If we sold a lot of copies of something a couple of years ago, we get more. We cleaned up our database so that we could keep track better.”

Mullins said World Eye employees pay close attention to “best seller” lists.

“We are fully stocked with best sellers every day,” she said. “You have to have best sellers in stock, because people want instant gratification when they are looking for a title.”

Mullins said her staff also stays on top of their own picks.

“We always have copies of their picks,” said Mullins. “They may not have made the best seller list yet, but people respect their choices.”

Mullins said a big part of sales in Greenfield has been children’s books and she expects the same will be true in Florence.

“Kids need to hold onto a book,” she said. “They aren’t going to read on a digital reader.”

Mullins said meet-the-author, and other events she has held in Greenfield have been very successful, so she will do the same in Florence.

“We’ve already booked two authors in Florence,” she said. “We are going to continue to keep both communities engaged.”

Mullins said it also helps that many of her employees have been with World Eye for years.

“They like their jobs and like what they do,” she said. “When that happens, customers become more excited.”

World Eye in Greenfield is open seven days a week: Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

World Eye in Florence is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will be open Sundays during the holiday season.

For more information, call World Eye in Greenfield at 413-772-2186.

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