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Discovering The Vital Bookstore at BookExpo, curated by Franklin Fixtures

An interactive experience led by experts from around the country and journey through some of the best bookstores....all in one visit at BookExpo 2018. Learn the secrets of today’s most successful booksellers.

How are the best bookstores thriving and growing in today’s fast-changing retail world? Discover their approaches and find ideas you can easily apply by visiting “The Vital Bookstore” at BookExpo 2018. This new, interactive exhibit features collaborative learning space and is being developed by bookstore-display specialists Lisa and Dave Uhrik, owners of Franklin Fixtures, with input from bookstore owners and experts, including Franklin designer Christine Hart, consultant Kate Whouley, and others.


“It’s like a puzzle that we’re all working on together to share innovative ideas and practical solutions to common problems,” explains Lisa Uhrik. The Vital Bookstore will feature four life-size walk-through vignettes: a café, a store with modern décor and sideline merchandising strategies, a traditional store with a classic library look and shelving designs, and a children’s store with special features to engage young readers. Visitors can explore the store three ways:

1) Vital Book Store Social Take a self-guided tour, examining fixtures, shelf talkers, and photos showcasing great ideas from large and small bookstores across the U.S.
2) Take a small-group guided tour for eight to 10. Tours will be held throughout BookExpo.
3) Join one of numerous 30-minute dialogue sessions with bookstore owners and thought leaders on a variety of topics, such as Creating Store Sales in Non-Traditional Ways, Easy Merchandising Changes That Work, and Disaster Preparedness.


Timing for The Vital Bookstore couldn’t be better, in Uhrik’s opinion. “It’s the 20th anniversary of the movie You’ve Got Mail, which I call ‘The Great Bookstore Misinformation Myth’—the myth that small bookstores were dying,” she says. “The bookstore the movie replicated as a set (New York City’s Books of Wonder) has been in business for 38 years and has expanded seven times over the past two decades. Independent bookstores aren’t dying; their role is evolving. They’re becoming essential cornerstones of their communities.”

But success requires savvy and strategy. “If you don’t know why certain things are working in your store, you’re at risk of casting the good things aside,” warns Uhrik. On the other hand, “A well-designed store—or even a well-designed section remodel—makes a huge and immediate difference every time.” To prove her theory, Uhrik polled 197 stores that have remodeled over the past decade about the effect of remodeling on the bottom line. What she found surprised and delighted her: 92% of the remodeled stores reported at least a 15% increase in sales following the remodel, and 56% reported at least a 40% sustained increase in sales. Almost all respondents said redesign had increased engagement and made it easier for staff to serve customers effectively and to interact with them. “We see The Vital Bookstore as an opportunity to stimulate dialogue, exchange ideas, and expand education for the people putting books in hands, hearts, and minds of readers of all ages,” says Uhrik. “We hope everyone who stops in will share their own best ideas. And we hope folks will leave saying, ‘Wow, I got practical ideas, exposure, and inspiration from that space. I can’t wait to continue the dialogue, and I’ll definitely be back next year!’”

To experience The Vital Bookstore: A Collaboration, get your BookExpo ticket now!