Final chapter for popular used bookstore
Things have happened in Pat DiFrancesco’s life that have changed its course.
Like planning to leave her home in Perth, Ont., to visit her daughter in Vancouver.
That led to sending out emails to people asking if they’d be interested in showing her around the province.
Which led to her meeting David DiFrancesco, who she married six days later.
It helped that, when inviting her to stay at his house the night she arrived, he slept on the couch.
“So that was big brownie points,” Pat said.
It also helped that the marriage commissioner she called had the same first two names as Pat does.
After moving to Kamloops, Pat went into Avalon Books on the North Shore.
She called David to pick her up and, when she told him where she was, he said: “I just had a flash of you owning a bookstore.”
It was an image Pat could also see, she said this week as she announced she will be closing At Second Glance Books within the next two months.
“Blame it on Nancy Drew,” she said.
“I was a military brat and we moved a lot, so books were my friend. And, as the oldest of five kids, they were my escape.”
She found an empty storefront in the 200-block of Victoria Street and, to figure out the viability of a store, she sat at the patio of Kelly O’Bryan’s restaurant and counted the number of people who walked by.
“If there were 10 people, I figured two would come into the store and one would buy something, so that’s how I decided,” Pat said.
The first incarnation of the store — it later moved to the 400-block of Victoria — had one row of bookshelves cutting the 1,000 square feet in half. On one side was the area for stock, on the other is where she would display the books.
That was the first stumbling block.
“When I started, I didn’t have any books,” Pat said this week, surrounded by what she estimates is more than 100,000 of them.
“I put signs up on the window with little tear-offs with my phone number asking for books. Someone at Kelly O’Bryan’s had a friend with a basement full of books she wanted to get rid of.
“That was about 6,000 books.”
A man from Merritt with a similar basement full of books wanted to pare down his collection and, half a U-Haul later, another 20,000 tomes joined the inventory.
“And, I went to every yard sale and secondhand store and flea market,” Pat said.
But, after contemplating it for the past couple of years — and more seriously in recent months — Pat said she realizes the world is changing.
“I do it, too. There was a time when you wanted to find out something and you’d go to a book but, now, you open a browser and you have more information than you know what to do with.”
So it is with books and electronic readers, she said.
There’s no definite timetable for shutting down, other than a goal of the end of November.
In the meantime, there will be sales — “two for one, three for one, four for one, five for one, whatever it takes,” she said.
Then the doors will be closed and Pat will have time to do something she hasn’t done much in the 13 years At Second Glance has existed.
“I’ll finally have time to read some books myself.”