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Write an Essay, Win a Bookstore!
July 2, 2017: Press release
Write an Essay, Win a Bookstore!
After many years of running a successful bookstore in Wellsboro, a local couple is ready to move forward to new pursuits. But they're not selling their bookstore using a traditional method. They're offering one person the chance to win a bookstore for $75.
Kevin and Kasey Coolidge started From My Shelf Books & Gifts in their hometown in 2006. It was their dream to give Wellsboro a bookstore with both new and used books.
"There wasn't a bookstore in Wellsboro when I was growing up, and there wasn't one when I met Kasey," said Kevin. Both Kevin and Kasey were selling books part-time when they met. They merged inventories and soon outgrew their apartment. When space opened up downtown, they decided to take the leap to retail.
"It's been a fun, learning experience," said Kevin. "Now, I'm writing on a regular basis and have started doing author visits to schools. My children's series, 'The Totally Ninja Raccoons', is taking off and we have agreed that it's time for the next phase of our life," he added.
During the 11 years that Kevin and Kasey have operated the Wellsboro bookstore, they've developed a clientele that goes beyond loyalty; the store is part of the community and friends have become family. A regular customer even proposed marriage to his sweetheart there.
Rather than liquidate the stock, the couple decided that Wellsboro still needs a bookstore, and asked themselves why someone else should have to start from scratch.
"My husband and I grew up here. We believe Wellsboro deserves a bookstore," said Kasey. "Kevin and I thought it would be nice to be able to pay it forward and give someone else the opportunity, especially since starting a business is hard."
The contest is simple. Contestants pay a $75 entry fee and write a 250-word essay on why a bookstore is important to a community.
"We need to at least 4,000 entries in our contest to cover our current inventory, shelves, signage and six months of paid rent for the new owners," Kevin said.
Entries must be postmarked by March 31, 2018. "We do hold the right to extend the deadline for 60 days, depending on the number of entries received by then," he noted.
"At first, those numbers may sound like a lot, but people who love books tend to be writers, and what booklover wouldn't want their own bookstore," said Kevin.
If 4,000 people enter the contest, Kevin and Kasey will select the top essays. This is to weed out those who didn't follow directions, and to make it easier for the final judging period, where a panel of impartial judges will choose a winner. “For $75 and an essay, someone could win their own bookstore,” Kevin said.
If 4,000 entries are not received, all entry fees will be returned, and the couple will continue to run the bookstore.
Part of the official entry form includes current staff's possible role in the future of the bookstore:
"....The winner of the essay contest will receive:
(a) rental paid by From My Shelf for six months on the 1100 square foot space presently occupied by the bookstore;
(b) assumption of the rental agreement for 1100 square feet presently occupied by From My Shelf;
(c) full inventory and customer information;
(d) an experienced staff ready, willing, and able to continue to work at the discretion of the winner;
(e) Kasey and Kevin will be available for consulting work concerning the book business;
(f) return of $75 entry fee.
3. The winner of the essay contest must own and operate the bookstore for a period of one (1) year from the date of conveyance of the business, conditioned on the business not being operated as an adult bookstore selling soft or hard pornographic materials.
4. At the expiration of one (1) year of ownership or at any time Writer desires to sell or convey the business, Kevin J. Coolidge and Kathryn S. Cox be and are hereby granted a right of first refusal with regard to any such proposed sale. The Writer shall notify Kevin and Kasey in writing of any offer of sale which they wish to accept, and Kevin and Kasey will have a period of 30 days from receipt of said offer to agree to purchase or decide not to purchase the bookstore, and if they decide to purchase they will have an additional 30 days thereafter to close on the transaction."
Of course, the winner may choose to change whatever they would like. "If it has always been your dream to own a bookstore, this is your chance. You don't have to run it like we do. It can be your own thing: your dream come true."
For the full contest rules, legal contract, and official entry forms, go here or get them from our blog.
Thanks for your interest!