09 May 2011

I have plans to open a second-hand clothing store in the town I moved to three years ago. But whenever I talk to people about it, I fear I come off sounding twee and naive. Recently, while re-reading Alice Munro's Open Secrets, I came across a passage that captured
 my feelings on the matter. The passage is from a story entitled The Albanian Virgin, and is partly about a woman who escapes to a country town and ends up opening a bookstore there:

"How could I tell what I liked so much? Certainly it was not what a new merchant might be looking for - bustle and energy to raise the hope of commercial success. Not much doing was the message the town got across to me. And when a person who is opening a store doesn't mind hearing the message Not much doing, you could ask, What's going on? People open shops in order to sell things, they hope to become busy so that they will have to enlarge the shop, then to sell more things, and grow rich, and eventually not have to come into the shop at all. Isn't that true? But are there other people who open a shop with the hope of being sheltered there, among such things as they most value - the yarn or the teacups or the books - and with the idea only of making a comfortable assertion? They will become a part of the block, a part of the street, part of everybody's map of the town, and eventually of everybody's memories. They will sit and drink coffee in the middle of the morning, they will get out the familiar bits of tinsel at Christmas, they will wash the windows in spring before spreading out the new stock. Shops, to these people, are what a cabin in the woods might be to somebody else - a refuge and a justification."


  1. LOOOVE this! I feel the exact same way, I understand. My dream is a bookshop- a haven as in Black Books=)

  2. Love this. I magine being so much a rock that you become parts of people's memories or used to seperat sections of a street block. Cherrie

  3. What a beautiful description. Good luck with your plans!