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Animators Survival Kit

Opening our new Bristol bookstore

25th March 2011 - Julia Kingsford

The glorious spring sunshine did seem like an auspicious start to opening our new shop in Bristol. A small matter of the wrong vinyl installed on the windows to obscure the building works meant that we'd stayed in the shop a little later than we'd intended the night before (ok, a lot later, as any of the passing 24 hr gym-goers or late night revellers who looked quizzically at four of us scraping away till gone 1am will attest).

Bristolians queuing for Foyles bookstore openingAnd maybe it was just the effect of the fumes from the white spirits we used early in the morning to remove the last traces of stickiness from the windows, but as a queue started to form half an hour before we opened, we actually felt quite emotional. We wondered if something was wrong when Dave, who was on a late shift, turned up several hours early, but he just wanted to be there for the opening. There was a last flurry of stickering, tidying and triple checking the tills were ready before Darren, the manager, unlocked the doors and we had to resist the urge to hug the 60 or so people who were waiting patiently outside.

Our first sale was Never Let Me Go and Don'ts for Wives (which actually seem like a lovely gift set for your missus). We sold a copy of Banksy's Wall and Piece (though we almost expected everyone in Bristol to already own it) and our sold-out bestseller was the most delightful book - Illustration School: Lets Draw Cute Animals. Chatting to customers, getting early feedback (more foreign fiction, military history and the disappointment that it's not the size of Charing Cross Road) and meeting everyone who came in to introduce themselves, say hi and make us feel welcome was amazing.

Photo of internal bookstore on first day Day 2 and the sun's still shining. We just hope it still is by next weekend when we're really going to town to celebrate our opening. On Saturday 2 April we've invited some of Bristol's finest performers - from Cutting Edge Circus and Circomedia - to help us celebrate. Keep an eye out for our book jugglers, roller skaters and our headmaster on stilts (who'll be hard to miss), plus learn a few tricks from the pros. We'll also be offering 20% off instore throughout the day, so do pop in to browse our shelves and pick up your next read.

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