Ordinary World Soap Opera
An Online Soap Opera

Episode 1119: Changes

There were plenty of customers. Well, maybe. Or maybe the suddenly very open floor plan just made it feel like more people than there were since there really wasn’t much else.

Ava couldn’t quite wrap her mind around what she saw. Hardly anything familiar. She slowly made her way around every nook and cranny of the bookstore, not that the bookstore really had nooks and crannies anymore.

If someone were to describe the way Avalon used to keep the bookstore they might have referred to it as cluttered or in more polite terms, overstuffed. Her version of the store very much had nooks and crannies creatively decorated, little discovery spots showcasing titles that hadn’t received enough love, drawing attention to them with unique displays and handwritten recommendations.

Ava enjoyed setting them up in random locations high and low throughout the store where customers would just stumble upon them, first delighting in the whimsy and creativity of the display only to then feel as though they’d discovered a hidden gem of a book that for once hadn’t already been hyped to death on social media. It was one of many aspects of the store that Ava had put extra effort on to make the experience of brick and mortar shopping appealing in competition with the lower prices and convenience of online shopping.

But that personal touch appeared to be all gone. Along with at least seventy percent of her book inventory. The inviting couches and playful seasonal décor, too, and no more stools at the coffee bar or colorful little tables, chairs, and stuffed animals in the children’s section.

There were no signs for the in-store book club or the many other events she’d fostered along to increase foot traffic. Loyal customers had told her time and again how much they appreciated the events that made them feel like part of a bookish community.

The store hadn’t even set up any displays yet of romance novels for valentine’s day or friendship novels for galentine’s day. The now mostly white shelving held of a sparse number of bestselling thrillers, memoirs, and little else to choose from. The rest of the inventory consisted of extremely high end self-care products and electronics, most of which had nothing whatsoever to do with books.

The entire scene reminded Avalon of the sort of upscale clothing boutique where they’d have hardly anything on display on the sales floor, the minimalism intended to make their goods seem exclusive and hard to get. That sort of store and its antiseptic vibe would never have enticed Ava even if she’d had the money. And now she was the not so proud owner of just such an establishment. Fantastic.

Episode 1120: Locomotive

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