Part 1: The Before

These are pictures of our stores in the happy days, when it seemed we would work with books and amazing people forever.  There aren’t a lot, in part because it was company policy not to take pictures in the stores (seriously), and certainly never to post about work/the company on the Internet.  But we did take pictures, and now that the company has kindly “let us go,” we are free to share them with you.

Note: I was at our store starting in 2006, but the earliest dated pictures I found were 2009.  This is mostly because I didn’t have a digital camera or decent camera on my phone until then.

06.03.09: Summer window display

One of my favorite things to do with my partner in crime, Inventory Supervisor Z, was to make pretty windows.  I didn’t get any close-ups of this one, sadly, but it involved a beach towel, sunglasses, flip flops, sand toys and a REAL, WORKING GRILL (unfortunately, not pictured here).  No kidding.  I will have to see if I have a picture with the grill tucked away somewhere.  For now:

Summer '09 window display

Summer '09 window display

Trapped! Picture taken by Colby.

11.04.09: John Connolly event

This was our favorite store event ever, in part because we are such fans of John Connolly’s work, and in part because he is such a funny and genuinely nice person to be around.

I created my favorite window display for the signing, which was on his tour for The Gates, a YA sci fi / fantasy novel about a young boy, his dachshund, and malevolent beings who want to open the gates of Hell.  It’s hilarious — and I mean that.

John Connolly window

John Connolly window

John Connolly windowJohn Connolly windowJohn Connolly windowJohn Connolly window

The event itself was well-attended, and we sold a good number of his books.  Here are some pictures:

John Connolly event

John Connolly talking/reading

John Connolly event

John Connolly event staff

John Connolly event staff

John Connolly signs Colby's book

John Connolly signs Colby's book

John Connolly with Rachel and Colby

John Connolly with Rachel and Colby

08.15.10: Highland, IN #176 store project

I got an interesting offer from the GM of #176 in Summer 2010.  She wanted me to drive to her store in Highland, IN every night for a week of overnight shifts.  The store needed major reorganizing, and she had gotten funds approved.  They would even pay my mileage and tolls.  I was honored to be sought out as Queen of Alpha, but a week of overnights in a different state…well, I can’t recommend doing that.  Still, it was one of the crazy/fun things I did while with the company, and I won’t easily forget it.

Sadly, I didn’t think to take any “before” pictures.  Some of the shelves were just a total disaster.  I did snap a couple shots of how Travel looked when I finished with it, though:

Store 176 - Travel

Store 176 - Travel

Random Displays

I was happiest when I was making pretty displays or making the books line up “like soldiers” on the shelves.

In-store display, June '09

In-store display, June '09. (I can't claim credit for this one. Believe it was AG.)

Local author display, March '10

Local author display (one of several), March '10

Role playing section, June '10

The role playing section was always a disaster after the weekend. This June '10 picture shows how nice it looked after I cleaned up... (No before picture, unfortunately.)

Staff pick display, Sept '10

My staff pick display, Sept '10

SPO Desk

My SPO desk, in the good ol' days. June '09

Sort room

Not a display, but look at our pretty sort room! Photo by Cindy.

Pink tree

December '10. The Jewish girl gets to set up the trees in the lobby...

Purple tree

Still very confused why anybody would buy one of these.

Micellaneous / Undated


My nametag was a glorified Sharpie holder

One of the supervisors, AK, used to draw pictures of me (and others) when it was slow.  He went to the Art Institute, which is why these are so very excellent.


It's true. I did get hit on an awful lot. And killed my ankle a couple times, unrelated.


I cut my hair short, and this was his interpretation.

Umbrella in parking lot

We arrived at 6am one morning in December '10 to find this umbrella in the middle of the parking lot, with tire tracks leading up to it. I consider it evidence Mary Poppins was abducted that night!


Bookseller perk: What Would Lisbeth Do? wristband

Rowdy on chairs

Our last GM had a stuffed dog named Rowdy that he used to hide all over the store. You'd open a door and Rowdy would be there, staring at you. Freaked me out, especially early in the morning! Here he's perched on our event chairs.

Rowdy got topstocked

One of my favorite places that Rowdy showed up was in topstock.

Glitterball martinis

Instead of a book action list on December 21, 2010, corporate posted recipes for glitterball martinis. So that's what we did instead of merch that morning!

Reg eats hoodie

At the end of January '10, the register ate my hoodie. I should have known things would only get worse from there.

The People

IPT ladies

Z, Cindy, and Rachel in the break room. This was taken around the time when Z was leaving us to move across the country. Some of the best IPT ladies ever! Though this picture is missing a few others, some of whom hadn't come on board yet.

Toy bead maze

The toy bead maze from the kids' section was broken. We obviously needed to keep it in back for regular testing. Rowdy helped. Photo courtesy of Katlyn.

Somaiyya in a box

Somaiyya wanted to see if she could fit in a box like River from Firefly. Photo courtesy of Katlyn.

Somaiyya in a box plus Nat

NT was sorting that day - wonder where Somaiyya gets shelved? Photo courtesy of Katlyn.

Store #58: Michigan Avenue

Before the bankruptcy filing, our store absorbed booksellers from store #58 on Michigan Avenue, which closed at the end of 2010, and a nearby Waldenbooks.  The following pictures are from our friend, colleague, and partner-in-crime Katlyn, who came to us from #58.

Penguin puppet

Photo courtesy of Katlyn. Store #58.

Penguin on Rowdy

Rowdy (and our GM) came to us from store #58, too. Photo courtesy of Katlyn.

Rowdy eating penguin puppet

Photo courtesy of Katlyn. Store #58.

Bunny circle

Photo courtesy of Katlyn. Store #58.

Row of bunnies

One of these things is not like the others... Photo courtesy of Katlyn. Store #58.

Now you can pat the bunny!

"Now you can pat the bunny!" Photo courtesy of Katlyn. Store #58.

Flood @ 58

One day, the basement flooded. Can you say "nightmare"? Photo courtesy of Katlyn. Store #58.

Flood @ 58

More flood... Photo courtesy of Katlyn. Store #58.

Water damaged books

The mountain of water damaged books. Photo courtesy of Katlyn. Store #58.

Water damaged books

Katlyn climbs the mountain of water damaged books. Photo courtesy of Katlyn. Store #58.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid display

Lovely Diary of a Wimpy Kid display. Photo courtesy of Katlyn. Store #58.


3 responses to “Part 1: The Before

  1. Kelly Peterson

    July 25, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    That John Connelly display was inspired! And the former GM in me is begging Katlyn to get down off the books before she hurts herself.

    • jtewsley

      August 2, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      I agree with Kelly…that display was amazing. Loved looking at all of the photos. Makes me proud of Borders and all of the amazing people that worked so hard to make it great.

  2. Booksellers Without Borders

    July 25, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Thanks – the Connolly display was too much fun to put together! We had some others that I can’t seem to find any pictures of, including one for the Eric Carle event that was set up like a picnic with the plush caterpillars scattered around. As for Katlyn, well, she regularly put her life on the line for the company. 😉 We all did…


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