There is a brand-new van parked in front of Phoenix Books in Essex Junction, and it is all decked out in colorful decals identifying it as the property of the store. If customers can’t come to their stores, in Burlington, Essex, Rutland and Chester, then maybe the books can still get to customers.
“There is an untapped market for increased sales to off-site customers, and we need a vehicle to get the books to those customers — and those customers need to know who is bringing them their books,” said owner Mike DeSanto.
Phoenix Books intends to capitalize on a potential to compete in school book fairs, business-to-business relationships, off-site author events, supporting authors at their speaking engagements and creating mobile bookstores for large community events. The van will allow Phoenix to do this in the market areas served by all four locations. The store is also exploring the possibility of a delivery service.
Two years ago, Phoenix Books brought 80 cartons of books for sale at the Vermont Flower Show held at the Champlain Fairgrounds in Essex Junction. The business also brought portable point-of-sales equipment, displays, portable bookcases and numerous booksellers to assist with the three-day event. The business was dependent on a fleet of vehicles to move its books to the site and back again to its stores. Based in part on that experience, Phoenix now has a company-owned vehicle to handle transport.
“We believe there are many other opportunities like the garden show. And we have some amazing staff right now, so this off-site program will allow folks a chance to expand their horizons, and bring in new business for Phoenix Books in a way they may not have thought about before,” DeSanto said.
With the acquisition of a van, Phoenix Books can deliver a mobile book store experience to any customer or group interested in adding books into their program. The van also serves as a highly visible, eye-catching mobile billboard and advertisement.
“The van is evolving in its use. I guess I’m the keeper of the van’s schedule at this point,” said Colleen Shipman, general manager of the four Phoenix Books stores. “We don’t have shelves in the van at this point, so it’s not a bookmobile. Right now its primary use is to transport books between the four stores and to deliver books to schools for author appearances.”
Phoenix Books was established in 2007 on the principles of social responsibility, community and sustainability, and is a member of Local First Vermont and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. Phoenix Books Burlington, Phoenix Books Essex, Phoenix Books Misty Valley and Phoenix Books Rutland are locally owned, independent bookstores. The Essex store also houses a gallery and café. Whenever possible, Phoenix Books sources eco-friendly products from Fair Trade/Green Certified companies.
Visit www.phoenixbooks.biz for more information about the business or opportunities to schedule the van for an upcoming event.