PALMER — Palmer’s iconic bookstore, Fireside Books, has been offering curbside and delivery service since the outbreak of COVID-19, and according owner Mary Ann Cockle, the public’s appetite for reading hasn’t faltered.
“It kept us pretty busy,” Cockle said.
When businesses started to shut down or adapt to the social distancing measures, Fireside switched things up to keep putting books in people’s hands from a safe distance.
“We’re doing what we can,” Cockle said.
Cockle said the reception has been positive overall, and they’ve had plenty of requests for books ever since. She said they plan to maintain this model for the foreseeable future since social distancing in daily life is “becoming the new normal.”
“We had to come up with a system that makes sure we take care of everybody; and everything seems to be working out okay,” Cockle said.
As of now, people can request books from Fireside over the phone or browse their website and order there.
Cockle said they’ve had their fair share of orders from remote areas in addition to all the local activity.
“We’re just happy that people are still able to get the books they want,” Cockle said. “I think it’s very important to be able to continue as much as we can with servicing our community.”
Cockle said they’re currently operating with limited staff and they’re still not ready to open the doors to the public.
She said it’s still too early to mitigate infection through regular foot traffic. She said they put a hold on their used book intake for that same reason.
“It’s not like we can sanitize all the books,” Cockle said. “It’s hard that our customers can’t shop inside the store. That’s why we’ve been rotating the window books everyday.”
If a particular book isn’t in stock, Fireside staff can order it. Cockle said they call customers to notify them when their orders are ready, placing orders in a bin outside to minimize contact. As small businesses across the Valley attempt to keep up with the ever-changing situation, they look to the people in their community for support now more than ever.
Cockle said that she’s happy they can keep serving the community through all of this.
“Please continue supporting us. We’d very much appreciate it,” Cockle said.
For more information, call 907-745-2665 or visit goodbooksbadcoffee.com.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at email@example.com