So this is how we roll on the Outer Banks of NC. To set the stage:
Every island out here has an indie bookstore. Running North to South down the Outer Banks: Downtown Books in Manteo on Roanoke Island helmed by Jamie Anderson, my store: Buxton Village Books in Buxton on Hatteras Island , and Leslie Lanier’s store, Books to Be Red on Ocracoke. We are about an hour’s drive, or ferry ride, apart. We have all been in business for quite a few years. Many of our customers are vacationers since we are here at the coast. We collaborate on group ads and often chat among ourselves about how the season is going and many other things bookstore related.
When Dorian blew through right after Labor Day our bookseller on Ocracoke Island really got washed. In fact her whole island had many feet of smelly soundside tide flow over it, sinking homes that had never had water inside. Needless to say books and water do not mix.
We all operate our stores out here on the edge of the earth and while it is nirvana most of the time, we have all experienced storm damage. In the past, Leslie’s island had lost ferry access due to road damage, I had major losses in Emily in 93, Jamie has had tide in her store several times. But Dorian really did a number on Ocracoke. In Jamie’s words:
“ ……..it flat out sucks. First there’s the mopping, bleaching, cleaning, and piling up of damaged goods on the curb. Then there is the reality of the cost of those damaged goods, the business you’ve lost from the days you’ve been closed, the non-stop work that needs to be done both physically and mentally. Did I mention it REALLY REALLY sucks? BUT… I have NEVER had to face the reality of having my business shut down for weeks, maybe even months while I and the rest of my community tries to piece back together some sense of normalcy. This is what Ocracoke is going through.. this is what our fellow indie bookstore owner Leslie Lanier at Books To Be Red is going through.”
So once we all got ourselves unbuttoned from storm defense, Jamie (Roanoke Island)came up with the brilliant idea of inviting Leslie to bring her sidelines and gift items (that are somewhat more waterproof) to Manteo for the October First Friday and further invited Leslie to offer those items for sale in Downtown Books. I drove up from my island, Hatteras , from my store Buxton Village Books to lend a hand.
And here we all are in Downtown Books on First Friday, October 4th! It was a great evening! Outer Banks indie booksellers rule!!!!
(Submitted by Gee Rosell of Buxton Village Books)