Almost a year ago, at the end of 2009, I wrote a message about choices in the weekly e-newsletter of The Well Red Coyote, entitled "An Open Letter to Our Customers." My closing remarks were:
So, if you value what we've built and what we sincerely want to continue to offer to our community, then this is the time to renew your support.
If, however, our store isn't of value to you, then just keep doing what you're doing. But don't complain when we're gone. Often, when favorite stores close, people blame chain stores or the internet for driving them out of business. But it's their own customers' choices that cause those stores to close.
To those of you who do indeed buy all or most of your books from us, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We appreciate your support and promise you that we will do everything we can to continue.
As we approach the holiday of Thanksgiving, a time of year that has always had a profound effect on me, I want to thank all of you who responded to my message, in spirit and in fact. You know who you are and please know that Kris and I will never forget the support you've given us during this past difficult year.
The Well Red Coyote is alive and well (all things are relative in a recession) and will continue to be there for you in the years ahead.
And, to those of you who continue to believe that online retailers have your best interests at heart, we'll be there for you too, when you need that last minute gift of a book, when you don't feel like waiting in line at the library for the latest bestseller, when you finally realize that our net price for book club books is cheaper than Amazon, and anything else you might need.
But our commitment and focus will always primarily be for our regular customers, who have demonstrated that they value the existence of a community bookstore, every day, every week and every month of the year.
Last, I'd like to thank my kindergarten teacher, who many years ago took my class to the public library in Elizabeth, N.J., for all of us to get library cards; to my parents, who weren't well educated or well read but bought books for me and encouraged me to read; and, to my wife, Kris, who keeps me well "red" every single day.
Joe Neri is the co-owner of The Well Red Coyote bookstore in Sedona. He can be contacted at (928) 282-2284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.