Marching to an update: March 2 Progress

There is a scent of caramel in the air, deliciously entwined with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. My daughter and I are sampling coffee grinds in an effort to winnow down the premier offerings when the stainless steel machine has its inaugural service at the newly reopened location of the bookstore.

Admittedly, I’m not a regular coffee drinker and certainly no aficionado. That’s why I’m depending on the advice of others to help select some delicious blends. I am surprised, though. My recollection of coffee in the morning has no memory of caramel. Maybe if these sorts of coffee grinds had been around when I was younger, I’d be a cup o’Joe guy instead of a Mountain Dew-er.

I actually took a second cup of this Amazonian Caramel. It is that good, straight from the pot.

The electrical outlets are ready to accommodate the coffeemaker in the new bookstore kitchen, receptacles lined along the wall, each glowing in the dark with a tiny green light. Flip on the switch and the brand-new stainless steel sink reflects the bright overhead lighting. Beautiful tile flooring is underfoot. It’s not a big area, but perfectly suited for its intent.

To my eyes, the space is nearing readiness.

There are glowing red exit signs over the doorways, just-installed. The air is dusted with newness and wood stain oils, fresh paint and grout. Bathrooms now feature basin sinks and wall mirrors over the vanities. For those interested, the mop basin is plumbed and ready to handle the janitorial cleanups.

Outside, glass is now thermal pane. The address is clearly marked in the sash over the front door: 122. Overhead, the frame for the canopy awning has been restored and is ready to accept the canvas. The bricks have been painted to match the facades of the adjoining buildings.

Waiting to be installed are just-acquired fixtures from Book Alley in Tulsa, whose owner is moving to Houston. She shut the store for good on Tuesday. Wednesday, shelving was hauled out in preparation for installation in the new McHuston Booksellers location. I’m tickled to be able to preserve a bit of the area’s literary history: six large wooden units once handled the inventory at Novel Idea, one of the last large independent bookstores in Tulsa that featured strictly new books. They faced stiff competition when Barnes and Noble opened just a couple of miles away across from Woodland Hills Mall. Ironically, those shelves will sit next to retired Barnes and Noble shelving also acquired from Book Alley.

There is a lot of work ahead, to get everything in readiness, and we’re all anxious to get started!

An Update: February bookstore report.

Here is a patience update: a thank-you for those of you have called or visited the new location hoping to find an open bookstore.

As of early February, the building – formerly the Francy Law Firm, just north of Commercial on Main Street – has been almost totally gutted by contractors to accommodate the bookstore. The attorneys had offices that were not suited to the retail display of books and the building’s owner, Mr. Roy Sturgeon, graciously agreed to remodel the space for a different purpose.

The contractor, Mr. John Skaggs, of Bixby, and his employees and subcontractors have been producing amazing and beautiful results in turning the structure into a modern-version of a turn-of-the-century storefront. New ceiling beams and columns serve to support the roof, wonderfully stained, and outfitted with elbow-level tables for book viewing or laptop wireless internet.

The century-old, now-rare tin ceiling tiles have been preserved and outfitted with matching corner molding that is painted to match the interior. Heating and air-conditioning ductwork has been moved. The loft has been resituated. Outdated bathrooms have been treated with sledgehammers and replaced with new, wheelchair accessible facilities.

The attorney’s office breakroom has been gutted and is being replaced by a licensed kitchen that will allow the serving of food and beverages.

Tables and chairs are purchased and awaiting delivery.

A beautiful floor is being installed as of Superbowl Sunday, another step in the process of getting shelves located and the book inventory restored. The grout is down. I wanted to walk on it and try it out, but refrained to let it dry.

There is a new front door, and new front window panes. Mr. Skaggs has tested a brick-paint to allow the façade to blend wonderfully into the two adjoining brick buildings. The front has already been thoroughly cleaned and prepped by workers atop a scaffolding.

As for the behind the scenes, non-structure work: meetings have been held to sample the fare that will be offered once the bistro portion of the new operation gets underway. Tables and chairs are at the ready. Cups are waiting to be filled with exotic coffees. Pastries to delight are standing by (well – truth to tell, we’ve eaten those on stand-by, but will have fresh ones ready!).

Credit accounts, as we’ve mentioned, are in place on the computer, and will be transferred in full to the new location.

Books have been purchased to add to the inventory. A new front counter will be installed as soon as feasible – in the meantime it awaits in safe storage.

Our customers have been dearly missed, and certainly your patience has been tested to some degree. Thank you for that.

I am certain you will enjoy the new store.

Bear with us over the coming next weeks as we approach the day the renovations are completed and we begin moving in…

The Phone.

I didn’t want to pay for a phone that I could not answer. As a result, the bookstore phone – when dialed – returns an out of service recording (or so I am told…). When the new location is up and running, that same number will be correct for calling us. It’s part of the trouble of having a lapse between lease-end and new locale readiness. The new store will be a vast change, which we all hope you will love. Bear with us, and remember the phone number will again be valid in a couple of weeks.