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Monday, June 29, 2009

HOM: Moving

Jerry was the businessman, the one who made the wisest decisions and had the most experience. I was the one that argued & debated with him all the time. One decision Jerry made was that we needed a bigger store -- 700 s.f. wasn't gonna work. He learned through his friend Noel Nedved that some folks from Colorado had purchased the old McCulloch chain saw building for their daughter, who wanted to make it into a restaurant. For whatever reason, the restaurant plans fell through and the pool hall that was renting the building went out of business so the building was available. Jerry talked me into renting it by pointing out that having three times as much space would make our work a lot easier and that being in a basement limited the people that would or come come in. He painted a rosy picture that turned out to be pretty accurate, though he was surprised at the regular customers that we lost when we moved. In the case of the Elephant Man, Jerry was relieved that we lost him . . . Anyway, he negotiated the rental terms and wrote the check and we got busy. We had thirty days to complete the move and we needed most of them. The building was mostly four walls and an empty concrete floor, so we started planning and measuring and then constructing, putting in an office area, building the counter and putting up shelving. One of us would run the basement store during the day, the other would come over and work on the new location. In the evenings we worked together as assembling the shelves was pretty much a two-man job. Jerry designed the shelving and did the measuring & planning, guesstimating on what we needed at the time and our future needs. He did a great job -- in hindsight, the only thing he wished he'd done differently was making the shelves in the middle of the store a few inches deeper. We bought lumber and fiberboard and nails from O'Neil lumber and I bought a radial arm saw that got quite a workout. In the basement store, Jerry had used picnic tables for book display and the matching benches stacked as shelving so we incorporated them into the plan. We did all the work ourselves, though we borrowed some tools we needed, like a special Formica bit & a router from Robin Graham when we did the counter top. (Jerry had demonstrated his reflexes when we'd done a Formica work bench in the basement store. We'd coated both the wood top and the Formica with glue as per directions and stood the Formica on end against the wall while we waited for the glue to get tacky. Once the glue reached that point the Formica had to be laid in place on the wood, a painstaking operation as once it was put down, it would stick and couldn't be moved again. I bumped the sheet and it tipped over, heading for a crosswise landing on the bench. Jerry lunged and caught it with inches to spare before it hit and welded itself into place. We both heaved sighs of relief.) When we got enough shelving built to house our stock as it existed then, we enlisted Dad's big red 1958 Chev farm truck and all the friends we we could ask favors of and spent a weekend moving everything over. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)