Downtown Napa is now home to two bookstores: last week, Copperfield’s Books relocated from Bel Aire Plaza to the First Street Napa complex.
On Aug. 19, Copperfield’s joined Bookmine on Pearl Street (and inside the Oxbow Public Market).
The downtown location isn’t new to Coppefield’s. Back in the 1980s, it had a home directly across the street from where it is now.
“We’re happy to be here,” and back downtown, said Mikayla Norwick, manager of the downtown Copperfield’s, last Thursday.
She said she was encouraged by steady number of shoppers on that first day on First Street.
“A lot of our regular customers made the move with us, which is really nice to see,” she said.
“Everything is new,” at the First Street store, said Paul Jaffe, president of Copperfield’s Books. “New lights, new fixtures, new flooring.” The old fixtures were looking dated, he said.
At the new store, “We wanted to put our best face forward and that meant upgrading our look, which we did.”
“The entire look of the store is a much cleaner look.”
“It is a lot brighter,” said Norwick. With bigger and more windows, “It’s easy to see in and see what we’ve got ongoing on. With the white walls – the books pop. It’s been fun planning where everything’s going to go.”
Jaffe said the new store also allows for a little bit more room for non-book items.
“Our stores are known for having a very curated mix of books and gifts and stationery,” he said. At the former Bel Aire Plaza store, “we just didn’t have the right kind of displays for that. We’ve been able to remerchandise as well as carry some items we’d like to in Napa.”
“Tourists like to bring home something that shows where they came from,” said Norwick.
Other items include games and puzzles.
“We did have some of those things (at Bel Aire Plaza) but we didn’t do a very good job of merchandising them,” said Jaffe.
And since the COVID-19 pandemic, “We’re selling way more puzzles and games because people are at home. We’ve noticed a lot more interest. We’ve really expanded our selection.”
Norwick said the store has “something for everybody” but some sections are particularly popular.
“Our kids section is huge as well as cooking. We have a lot of great children’s titles, toys, stuffed animals and educational things,” she said.
A new back-to-school display features workbooks and items like flashcards.
Middle and high school have already identified books that they’ve assigned students such as: “The House of the Scorpion” by Nancy Farmer and “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien.
“Then we always have the classics like ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ We do our best to keep those in stock always.”
Jaffe said that orders for the upcoming holidays are pretty much complete.
“This being an election year there’s a lot of very topical books dealing with politics and current affairs that are going to be coming out that we feel are really going to bring people into the store,” he said.
Gift books are always popular, but the pandemic has already impacted such orders, said Jaffe.
“We’re tending to be a little more conservative about how many we buy,” he said. “We’ll still buy our usual selection,” of gift books, but instead of 20 copies, maybe 15 or 10.”
“Everything’s in flux,” he said. “We don’t know whether there will be another surge and we’ll have to go back to curbside delivery. There are so many variables going on. That why a lot of retailers are having a hard time trying to assess what to do. And we’re trying to assess that in a new location, which is also challenging for us.”
Unknowns aside, “We always loved downtown Napa,” he noted. “When we left downtown (in the ‘80s), it was completely different.”
Today, “Things have changed so dramatically for the better,” said Jaffe. “It feels great. It feels like a great opportunity to come back to downtown.”
“We feel like we’re coming home,” said Jaffe.
Copperfield’s new address is 1300 First St., Suite 398 (next to Eiko’s restaurant) in Napa. Phone: 707-252-8002. Open daily. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
You can reach reporter Jennifer Huffman at 256-2218 or email@example.com
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