There's a song from the early 80's by Adrian Belew called Lone Rhinoceros. The first few lines of it have been running through my head today. I've sent the last of my crew here at the Main Street store to Trolley Square. So I'm rumbling through this old store entirely alone. I'm collecting bookends, old signage, display stands and -bizarrely - shelving books. All the while I'm singing, "I'm a lone rhinoceros. There ain't one hell of a lots of us..."
Of course Belew's melancholy song about an endangered species isn't true to our story. Ours is a story of evolution and survival. It's always been thus. Sam took over the store upon his return from World War II, when it was nearly bankrupt. When he moved the store from 200 S. to Main Street, it was because the landlord had other plans for the space. The catastrophic fire of 1972 caused another (temporary) move and a remodel of the Main Street store. The 80's and 90's brought changes to the book industry that had us computerizing the inventory system and selling our used/rare books on the Internet. Recent years have left us and many of our independent bookseller peers feeling a bit bruised. But of late, the news for us all is better and we're looking up. Now we evolve again.
It's exciting. I've always found change to be stimulating. The energy at the new store is envigorating. Our amazing staff and generous volunteers are working hard to put our plans into place. Each evening I lock up the Main Street store and drive to Trolley for a managers' recapitulation of the day and plans for the next one. What I see when I get there is always different and always exciting. As tired as I am when I arrive -- and I am tired! -- it's difficult to leave the store once I'm there.
But for now I'm a lone rhinoceros closing this world.