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Description of Subject Matter: The Name:
The name was set when there was only Carla Cohen figuring out a niche for a new bookstore in Washington. How can we select a Washington-sounding name without being pretentious? It worked against us in the beginning, since customers thought we specialized—that we didn’t include cooking and children, poetry and travel. Now—well, it’s just our name.
Here’s what we said in our business plan twenty years ago: “The bookstore will offer superior service and unusual book choices; it will serve as a gathering place for people interested in reading and discussing books.”
Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade began in a small store at 5010 Connecticut in the autumn of 1984, by themselves and a part-time employee who worked at night. Before a year was up, there were two full-time employees. By 1988-89 there were a half-dozen and the store was bursting. We moved across the street to 5015 in the summer of 1989, and since then we have grown at intervals of every three years. We now occupy 10,000 square feet of sales space, and close to 13,000 feet, including offices and café. We have a staff of 50-55 (mostly) full-time employees.
In 1999, Jewell Stoddard, a partner in the Cheshire Cat, the preeminent children’s bookstore in the United States, decided to move in with Politics and Prose. Since the Cheshire Cat, 10 blocks up the street, was an inspiration for our “grown up” store, it was a perfect match, and Politics and Prose Children’s Department is now larger and sells more children’s books than Cheshire Cat did.
Today at Politics and Prose:
We have closely adhered to our original goals. Our staff loves books and enjoys helping customers find books they will enjoy reading. We see the store as a fun place to be, to shop, and to work in. We chat with customers. We urge them to sit down and look at books before they make a decision. We tell them what we know. We go the extra mile in trying to locate a book for a customer. We have ...More...
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