After experiencing an explosion in online sales, bookstores are finding their customers. In the Librairie du Soleil branches in Gatineau and Ottawa, the recovery is going well.
“I even have the impression that people are reading more than before,” said president and founder Francine Mercier-Chevrier.
She said there were a lot of customers on Saturday.
“It was a really big day and it was very crowded for a summer Saturday. It’s going great and we’re pretty busy, ”she said in a phone interview.
Reading, she says, is an activity that takes place without having to take social distancing into account.
“It does it all by itself,” she added.
Librairie du Soleil was founded in 1988 in Gatineau. Since 2014, it has had a storefront on Boulevard Saint-Raymond.
Eight years later, in 1996, it acquired the bankrupt Trillium bookstore to have a branch in the federal capital. It is located inside the Byward Market on George Street and is frequented by students, parliamentarians and tourists.
The founder runs the two bookstores, which employ around 20 people, along with three employees who have become partners.
The two branches physically closed their doors on March 16 and 17 before reopening in early June after obtaining the green light from the authorities. Plexiglass panels are in place, entrances are limited, customers must wash their hands at the entrance and wearing a mask is mandatory.
During the closings, Librairie du Soleil faced an explosion of online orders from leslibraires.ca, by email and by phone.
“Children’s books, pocket books, bestsellers and literature in general were in high demand. We haven’t sold a lot of travel guides, “noted Francine Mercier-Chevrier, with a hint of irony.
Postal orders left Gatineau and Ottawa to be sent everywhere in Quebec.
“We have sent a lot of mail orders outside of our region, to Rimouski, elsewhere in Canada and even in Europe. Online sales have slowed since the shops reopened, but there are still a lot of them, “she said.
The bookstore has also set up a book picking service on site and a delivery service in the surrounding area.
“The father of a partner made deliveries by bicycle and former employees offered their services. We had great support, ”said Francine Mercier-Chevrier.
The founding president believes things will return to normal once a vaccine is in place.
“I’m optimistic, but I think we’ll have to wait for a vaccine. This virus is serious and people tend to forget about it, “she said, referring to the current period of deconfinement.
The enigma of room 622
Ferdinand Von Schirack
The forgotten of Sunday
The shadow of Gray Mountain
Don’t shoot the mockingbird
* Books can be obtained from independent bookstores via leslibraires.ca.