It's officially official. I signed my lease, forked over a huge amount of cash (it could have been higher, it really could have), and got my key. The space is still in the midst of being remodeled, but I have a painting party set, colors of paint actually picked out, AND a sudo "watch this space" sign in the otherwise papered-over window. It is the first of many signs. A dear friend of mine is even now working on my logo/sign image (which is turning out so, so adorable, I can't even!), but until then I have a very basic "bookstore coming soon" message up.
And with this sign, and every step I take (every move I make...), the store feels more and more real. I'm so freaked out that I'm doing this. But at the same time it just feels so natural to imagine myself in my own shop, ringing up books and chatting about authors with customers. That's because it's what I've been doing since I was 15. Possibly earlier than that, as I would yammer ad nauseam at the dinner table about whatever favorite author I had discovered that day. So while opening my own store comes with all of the anxiety and stress of being a small business owner, it is also a business I can do blindfolded with my hands tied behind my back. At least, the books part. Deal with the other parts - lost mail, a possibly incorrect address, business insurance, FINANCING, for the love of GOD finding inexpensive furniture - is all new, and somewhat panic-inducing. Thank all that is holy I have my amazing family and friends to fall back on when I start hyperventilating. Not to mention that image of me, standing behind my own counter, chatting about JA Jance or Sarah Dessen or John Scalzi. That's a pretty powerful image for me right now.