I keep mentioning the twenty-five cent sale where I get a lot of my cookbooks. This past weekend was a sale weekend so I took a few photos of the place to just show you what I am talking about. As you can see from the sign, everything about the place is low budget. I guess you would call it a warehouse store.
It used to be in a storefront on 5th Street, so I guess they just kept the name when they moved. Now it is on US Highway 70 between the small towns of Mebane and Haw River in NC. If you’re speeding by you might just miss it.
I think the owner buys in such quantity he found himself warehousing his overstock and moving books took so much time it made more sense to warehouse and shelve the books in one place.
When I say “warehouse,” I mean it. It is just a big dusty old warehouse (well it isn’t really dusty). As you can see, there is nothing special out front – it is a budget operation. That helps keep the prices low.
All the books are 99 cents, except on the sale weekends (I think small children’s books might have cheaper regular prices). They sell all kinds of books and have CDs and DVDs too, but, of course, we all know what I shop for.
Inside, what you see is a bookstore. Since it is a warehouse, it is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. For some of the lighting, the store depends on skylights and if it is bright outside sometimes it is tough to see the top shelf. They are ‘way-up-there’ top shelves.
Cookbooks are one of the biggest categories after general fiction. They have tons of fiction, both hardbacks and paperbacks. The three shelf units of cookbooks are where I spend most of my time:
The cookbooks are pretty much shelved where they find empty space. That means, your humble crazy cookbook guy has to pretty much go through every unit every time he comes there. Some of the books never sell — I see them time and time again.
There is one problem — although there is a general organization scheme, within categories there is almost no organization. They are constantly shelving books and just don’t have time to break them down. In paperbacks, they try to alphabetize by author but it is impossible to keep it up. In short, if you don’t like to browse, it is not the place for you.
For me, a trip to this bookstore is a commitment of several hours. These are tall shelves. In some of the photos, you can see people standing next to them. I think they just use stock eight-foot sections of lumber. . They have two step-stools in this place and if you are lucky you can snag one for a while to give the high places more scrutiny. Luckily they often put things like Southern Living annual editions on sections of the cookbook top shelves. That helps me at least — been there done that. If I can, I flip through books one at a time. That is how you find the really good ones. It is not unusual to see me on my hands and knees looking at the bottom shelves.
In a few spots, they have huge bins of books. I think the owner found that people like to dig. The first thing you see when you come in is a section of children’s books in bins and there are always people digging in those. The bins in the picture of in front of the counter … those are paperback shelves behind them. Exclusively paperback shelves are made out of two-by-fours, and the other shelves are made from two-by-sixes. That’s lumber talk. They are sturdy. Some have backs, but most are just open back-to-back shelves so sometimes books fall through to the other side.
The sales run Thursday to Saturday on weekends after the third Thursday of the month. This was an early month because the first of October fell on a Thursday. Whew, I almost forgot to check. I think other people missed it too because it was not as busy as it usually is.
Beyond the counter space, is what I call their triage area, where they unload the huge packing crates of books. Those are sometimes somewhat categorized but are often just marked paperbacks or trade books, something like that. That’s Ron — he is usually in charge on the weekends. He and the owner sometimes let me come back and go through the cookbooks before they are shelved. Each one of those stacks of books are waiting to be shelved. In the background, you can see cartons of books stacked up that haven’t been processed yet.
Being a regular has perks. Ron brought me a book he found he thought I’d like. He was right. It went right into my basket.
Like I said, the place is already a bargain. Everything is 99 cents all the time — except on sale weekends. These sales are truly incredible. I think I got like 16 cookbooks this weekend. Four bucks. Find me ONE cookbook for four bucks. I had the stack of books in my last short post. In fact, I think I forgot one.
Pictures don’t do the place justice, but here are a few more:
Next sale weekend is November 17 — if you are looking for bargains, this is the place! It is on the south side of US Highway 70, about midway between Mebane and Haw River in North Carolina. I’ll apologize now, in case I shove you out of my way.