Reunion: Darien bookstore owner enjoys seeing customers once again

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox

After months of curbside pick-up, home deliveries and online ordering, Sheila Daley said she’s very happy to see the faces of her customers once again.

“At least half of their faces, with their masks on,” chuckled Daley, whose store, Barrett Bookstore on 6 Corbin Drive, recently reopened to in-person shopping.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Barrett Bookstore, like other businesses around town, had been closed to in-door shoppers.

On re-opening day, Daley said she had no idea what to expect.

“I didn’t know whether people would be worried to come out or not,” she said.

However, she said the store is doing well so far, and has been “very busy with people. Everybody’s been very pleased that we’re open.”

Safety, changes

Safety guidelines the store is following include installing a plexiglass screen around the counters, placing hand sanitizing stations at the entrance and around the store, and extra wiping down of counters.

Masks will be required for staff and customers, and the store requests everyone use hand sanitizers before browsing books.

There are also contactless methods of payment available, remote door openers, and a six-foot line of tape at the register lines.

Additionally, Barrett has moved shelves, switched fixtures around, and rearranged departments to make more space.

At the present time, the store hasn’t felt the need to have 50-percent capacity, as per the recommended directives from the state.

The store has modified hours, which are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Saturday.

“These hours are fluid,” Daley said. “Over the coming weeks, we may extend our hours to what we had formerly, which was 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Curbside pick-up, home delivery

Barrett Bookstore is still offering curbside pick-up at its back door, and home delivery services Monday to Friday, to Darien and Rowayton.

“We are going if this seems to be a service that people are using a lot. Then, we will probably continue it,” she said. “If there is not much demand, we are probably not going to keep it.”

Most of her staff has returned to work. However, some have had childcare issues. Others are in a high risk group.

“We certainly understand,” Daley said.

Topics, reading lists

As far as the kinds of topics that are in large demand right now, racism is number one, according to Daley.

“This took all the publishers by surprise,” she said, referring to the national demonstrations and unrest following the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, an African American man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis. “A lot of titles are on backorder from publishers because they are reprinting them.”

In general, so far, Daley said that overall business has been strong.

“People are interested in buying what they enjoy all across the board,” she said.

Barrett Bookstore is now working with the Darien Library and the Darien schools to get summer reading lists out, “so that’s in progress,” she said. “We hope to have that up in a week or so.”

“So grateful”

Daley said Barrett Bookstore is “so grateful for all the support our customers gave us when we were closed for those two months. We are so happy to see them at the store.”

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