Staff at Russell Books have a huge task at hand: moving over half a million books across the street.
The beloved new and used book store has been a Victoria staple at its location at 734 Fort St. for nearly 30 years. Now the three-storey business is heading across the street to the former Staples Office Supply store at 747 Fort St.
“It’s a lot of work, but a lot is happening,” said Andrea Minter, owner of Russell Books. “Half a million is a significant number of books… you don’t really realize it until you move a dolly full of boxes and realize that’s only 100 books.”
Books in storage and at other business locations, including its Books on View, brings the total inventory to over a million books.
Minter has been herding staff together from other roles to help with the immense task at hand; on Thursday, the businesses’ Books on View location closed while the buying desk has also been put on pause.
“Books aside we also have a lot to do inside the building,” Minter said. “We have to build over 300 shelves on top of the shelves we already had, and we have to put in lighting fixtures in line with those shelves.”
The new 18,000 sq. ft. space will offer wall-to-wall books as patrons have come to love, but with more breathing room, natural lighting,and accessibility options including an elevator and escalator.
Book sales have already begun at Russell Book’s downstairs vintage books section and Minter said many more sales are planned for the future, without a fear of limited hours.
“Perhaps for a period of time both stores will be open, but at no point will we be closed,” she said.
While logistics are being finalized, Minter said she hopes to be open at the new shop in October– just in time for the Christmas shopping season to begin.
“It’s all really, really exciting and we’ve had positive responses from customers from around the world,” Minter said. “We’re so grateful that the store has left a mark in such a positive way.”
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