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Shop Talk: Four Points Books

Grant and Thiloma Hofer in Four Points Books with their children, Cameron and Lauren.

Shop Talk is an occasional feature in which fledgling independent booksellers take Q&Q into their stores and share their reasons for opening and what business has been like so far.

Four Points Books
1225a 7th Avenue
Invermere, B.C.

For years, Grant and Thiloma Hofer had a second home in Invermere, B.C., a small lake town nestled in the Rocky Mountains. In early 2020, they relocated to Invermere, and in the fall of 2021, they were bemoaning the community’s lack of a bookstore with some friends.

“They suggested we open one ourselves, and the rest is history,” Grant Hofer says. 

The Hofers opened Four Points Books on May 7, 2022. The store is roughly 1,000 square feet, and is loaded with about 7,000 books, as well as gifts and stationery. The couple run the store with the help of their two children (Cameron, 15, and Lauren, 11) and three staff members. The title selection spans all genres, but Four Points is committed to offering books for young readers, and roughly 25 per cent of the books stocked are children’s books or YA titles. 

Grant Hofer recently answered a few questions for Q&Q about the store’s first few months of business. 

Why open Four Points Books? 

While we love our new life, this community has been lacking a bookstore for seven years, and it was sorely missed. We are also a year-round resort town, and visitors love to read when they’re on holiday. Not only could our store fill a hole in the retail offering, we could also restore an important service in the community.

Four Points Books

How has the community responded to the store?

The reception has been beyond our expectations! The residents in our surrounding communities have been amazingly supportive, with regular visits, referrals, and ordering those titles we don’t have on the shelves. Almost five months after opening, customers still come in the door and thank us profusely for being here. We’re also working with local schools and teachers, along with not-for-profits in the area.

How do you reach potential readers?

We use social media and conventional advertising (mostly the local newspaper) to get the word out. We’re really just starting to evaluate the merits of different events, and have tested a couple of ideas this fall. We’re also making sure to support local community projects, which also helps increase awareness. As we settle into the business, we may look to introduce some other initiatives to attract new readers.

What are your goals for the bookstore? Does the store have any special focus?

We are a general bookstore (plus gifts and stationery), and we pride ourselves on having a well-stocked and curated selection across (almost) all subject areas. Our goals for the store are very much community-oriented: we believe the bookstore is a hub for all people and we want to encourage a love of reading and sharing ideas. We also believe that reading can really change the trajectory of someone’s life, so carrying a meaningful kids/juvenile/YA section is important. Along the way we want to have a lot of fun with our team and read some good books. Business-wise, we obviously focus on maintaining margins and controlling costs, but the fulfillment we derive from running the store is a big part of the payoff for us.

What has been most surprising or unexpected about opening a bookstore?

There’s been a million pleasant surprises! The best by far has been the amazing breadth of people we get to interact with regularly. From a business perspective, things have been much more robust than we initially expected. Staffing has been easier than we feared, as so many people are keen to work in the bookstore. And one of the most pleasant surprises has been the amazing appetite for diverse titles – our customers read such a wide range of interesting books! From politics and science, to Indigenous and gender diversity … our customers are genuinely interested in our world (and beyond). On the downside, we continue to face margin pressure from all costs (especially freight), and of course supply chain disruptions that limit our timely access to inventory. As the owner, I’m still wearing too many hats (and working too many hours), but I’m optimistic we can address these issues over time.


November 16th, 2022

12:51 pm

Category: Bookselling, Industry News

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