#MerchantSpotlight : Meet Rachel Weaver & Jason Smith, co-owners of The Book Table in Downtown Oak Park.
How has the last six months affected The Book Table?
“It’s been tough. Especially during the first part of the pandemic, we had to work five times harder for every single sale. Sales are still down, and we’re worried that with the lack of travel and the bad economy that Christmas sales will be significantly down this year.”
What have you learned as a business owner over the last six months?
“We’ve always been hard workers — in the early days we used to run the store 12 hours a dayby ourselves — but we had to reach deeper than we ever thought possible to keep going in the first 6 weeks of the pandemic. And we learned that we have a customer base that is truly here for us through thick and thin. We’ve been downright verklempt about our customers’ generosity and support over the last six months.”
How can the community help Book Table thrive in the coming months?
“Start your Christmas shopping early! The book industry is expecting major delays in reprinting books this season, so order the books you want now. Plus, we literally can’t fit you allin the store safely the way we normally do in those last couple of weeks before Christmas, so order on our website, use curbside pickup, and shop as early as you can.”
If you didn’t own a book store, what would be your dream career?
“If we didn’t own a bookstore, we’d probably be working in someone else’s bookstore, or in publishing in some capacity. The book industry is truly our passion. Plus, as Jason likes to say, we have no other marketable skills.”
Favorite local spot to dine?
“Lea French Street Food – They serve simple food and delicious pastries made with the best and freshest ingredients, plus their response to COVID has been absolutely fantastic. I’m notready to dine in yet, and there is nowhere I feel safer picking up food from in DTOP.”
Favorite local spot to shop?
I”‘m a big fan of Scratch ‘n Sniff. I love their aesthetic and sense of humor, and the staffis always super helpful and friendly. Our beloved dog Gidget, who passed away in April (truly the worst year ever!) would never let us walk by without going inside.”
Favorite fun thing to do when you aren’t busy running your business?
“We love travelling and going to other bookstores (when we’re not in the middle of a global pandemic.) Every vacation is always a busman’s holiday for us — we just can’t stay away from books!”
Anything else you’d like the community to know about you?
“We feel really lucky to have ended up in Oak Park. We have the best customers in the world.”