Two Frisco bookstores merge
April 8, 2009
They could have remained distant competitors, but instead, they decided to sit down, chat and even laugh. Now, Amy Yundt, owner of The Open Book in Frisco, and Karen Berg, owner of The Next Page Bookstore, are happily merging their stores. This month, Yundt will move her inventory of books, cards and gifts to The Next Page Bookstore, at 409 Main St., and on May 1, the two independent bookstores join forces as a single business.The pair began talking about a merger last fall, at a book-selling conference.We both had similar expansion and community ideas (as well as) how to create that full indie book experience, and thats very hard to do as a party of one, Yundt said.They both believe the hallmarks of indie bookstores are the hand-picked selection of outstanding books and knowledgeable staff. They aim to expand a sense of community at their store through speaker series, author signings, locals travel presentations and book clubs. (The Next Page holds an open book club at 10 a.m. every first Tuesday of the month, and in May, a monthly book discussion will begin at 6:30 p.m. on a Thursday.)
The merger isnt taking place as an act of desperation. Though Yundt has seen a decline in customers since the first of the year, she said, Its not devastating by any stretch, adding that she is in a financially comfortable spot, still making a profit. Berg said her business is doing fine, explaining that people are still willing to buy books because they are great escapes for people in a hard economic times, as well as a resource to learn new skills. In fact, Yundt has been selling more business and self-help books since the downturn.The merger is a hedge against the sluggish retail economy, but mostly its and an energetic partnership to double the amount of time and creative brain power the owners have.Its wonderful to see this merger taking place, as it will augment the unique services and homegrown goods that can only be offered by a truly local, independent retailer, said Katie Roberts, executive director of the Summit Independent Business Alliance (SIBA). Both owners of The Next Page are extremely savvy.
Yundt spent six years working at Krystal 93 before she left to open her own business, confident that the community would support a local store. Berg had a private practice as a physical therapist for 20 years before she moved onto her latest entrepreneurial undertaking.Yundt and Berg opened their bookstores within months of each other, in April and June of 2007, respectively. At the time, neither knew what the other was doing: Berg didnt know that Yundt was transforming the former Winds of Change Books & Gifts from a predominately New Age and self-help store to a more general store, and Yundt didnt know that The Next Page would be opening down the street.They didnt get to know each other until last July, when the SIBA started. Now, they both feel they can do it better together, Berg said. And, regarding other competitors, such as Borders, theyre not very concerned. I felt like the pendulum was beginning to swing away from the big box, to the independent stores, Yundt said. Also theres enough physical distance between (the two stores).Both owners have experienced enormous support from the community, and theyre so grateful, they just want to give back.We hope we can exceed their expectations as to whats coming next, Berg said.