Toadstool bookstore offers curbside service
NASHUA – Despite the number of retailers that have had to shutter their doors due to the current crisis, Toadstool Books, 375 Amherst St., in the Somerset Plaza, knows how to read its loyal customer base.
According to Toadstool manager Mike Joachim, their online store and their warehouse have been swamped with book orders from here and across the country.
“The owner of the company, Willard Williams, is very dedicated and he has been for forty years to being a resource and taking care of people in the community,” said Joachim. “Being part of community, he said, ‘let’s see if we can stay open,’ and when we weren’t deemed essential, he told people they could volunteer to work if they wanted to but wouldn’t be forced to do so.”
The idea was to have the staff that wished to work operate the three Toadstool bookstores (Peterborough and Keene are the others), to offer to fulfill orders and offer curbside service. The company is now offering free media rate mail delivery for books.
“We wanted to stay in business,” said Joachim. “And we wanted to be a resource. A lot of people really need books for their kids. We’re selling a lot of workbooks for math and English and science workbooks. People are buying to help their kids while they’re not physically in school.”
Toadstool’s sales have been brisk, selling everything from kid-driven titles to activity books for adults as well as novels and best-sellers. Joachim said they’re promoting new books and getting a lot of calls from readers looking for specific titles. Locals want to support locals.
“It’s surprising to me the number of people who are really thanking us,” he said.
Their curbside service is especially popular since people can call or better yet, order the book or material online at toadbooks.com, and arrange to have it delivered to their car, curbside.
“Our website has always been set up to take online orders,” Joachim explained. “There are options, where you can ‘click’ to pick up, or have it delivered to you. There was always a steady flow of orders online. Now it’s just exploded.”
Williams spends much of his time in Peterborough, personally ensuring that orders are completed. Joachim said Williams often determines where the books are going, based on orders and demand.
“It’s become a labor-intensive process,” Joachim said. “But obviously so worthwhile. For some people that might always have access to a computer, they can call, and we’ll look up the book or title for them.”?
Toadstool will then take a credit card via phone to wrap up the order, and then have their bag waiting for them.
“All they have to do is call us from the parking lot and we’ll bring it out to the curb for them,” Joachim said.
Curious bibliophiles shopping at Market Basket – literally right next door to Toadstool – can buy a book on their phone, shop for groceries then pick up their book after their done.
“We do have signs in the window that tell people that we’re closed,” said Joachim. “But was tell people we’re happy to bring books out for them, or we’re happy to ship them to your home. I try to fill our window with as many new and interesting things that I can.”
Joachim added that people with time to kill while they’re waiting in line to get into Market Basket will call and pick up a book.
“We’ve had people call and say, ‘I saw this in your window, can I buy it?'” he said. “The window is very effective for people who enjoy a good book.”
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