WabiSabi is looking for volunteers to move approximately 15,000 books from ABC and Beyond Used Books to the WabiSabi Thriftique.
This is the single largest donation WabiSabi has ever received.
“It is a catalyst for huge changes at the WabiSabi stores,” said Mandy Turner, program director for WabiSabi.
WabiSabi manages two thrift stores in Moab. The non-profit’s mission is to minimize waste by repurposing items, as well as benefit area non-profits through sales at the thrift stores. In 2012, WabiSabi was able to give $50,000 to their local non-profit partners, as well as $13,000 in material goods to community organizations and $5,222 in grants for community projects.
Andy Nettell, owner of ABC and Beyond Used Books, said that as he and his business partners were trying to determine what should be done with the used book store, it was like a “light bulb” when WabiSabi was included in the conversation.
The closure of the used book store is “part of the larger trend of selling books,” Nettell said.
The cost of doing business rose and outgrew the return of selling the used the books, he said.
Donating the books to WabiSabi would ensure, for now, the presence used book store in Moab, which made Nettell feel much better.
“It will enable us to write off some inventory. And it would help WabiSabi return more money back to the community,” Nettell said.
It also allows books to continue to flow within the community and be read by more than one set of eyes.
“This gives books second, third, and fourth chances in town, which is great,” Nettell said.
Nettell wanted to assure the community, however, that Back of Beyond Books on Main Street is not closing.
Mel Gilles, the director of WabiSabi, said the books are a big deal, but what is bigger is what this donation is sparking.
WabiSabi plans to shut down both stores, the Thriftique and the Warehouse, for the first week in January, to reopen January 6.
“We will have two very different stores than we have currently,” Gilles said.
She said that the two stores in place now have nicknames: WabiSnobby for the Thriftique and WabiSlobby for the Warehouse.
When the stores reopen, they will have new names: The Thriftique will become WabiSabi East, which will feature gear, clothes and books. The Warehouse will be known as WabiSabi South, and will feature home goods and furnishings, as well as a large children’s section.
“It will be really child friendly,” Gilles said.
The goal for the reorganization is two-fold. One to make internal operations more fluid and organized by having new policies for displays, pricing and so on. The second is to make it easier for the customer.
By splitting the types of items between the stores, there should be less need for customers to go back and forth, Gilles said.
“We started recognizing this model of having duplicate departments was not only confusing internally, but not user friendly for customers,” Gilles said. “It’s a hassle for mothers toting kids along.”
Gilles said that with the reorganization, there will be much more product on the floor for shoppers to choose from.
However, not all the books will be on the floor, she said.
She’s not quite sure how the books will fit in the current Thriftique store. Books not on display will be kept in storage at the office.
“We’ve got a big storage area in the office,” Gilles said. “We’ll keep a lot of them there. Stack them up to the rafters.”
Volunteers are needed to both move and to organize books.
Movers have been working Monday and Tuesday, and are still needed Wednesday. Movers should be able to lift at least 50 pounds and work four-hour shifts.
Bookworms are needed for Thursday and Friday.
They need to be able to sort, alphabetize and categorize by genre.
“It is a great brain exercise. Thursday and Friday are all about sorting,” said Mandy Turner. “Sign up for as many shifts as you want. Bring your friends. Bring your knowledge of literary genres.”