Gloucester Book Shop's business picked up during COVID lockdown

Gloucester Book Shop owner Lindy Dupree believes her business is an essential service during COVID. Photo Anne Keen
Gloucester Book Shop owner Lindy Dupree believes her business is an essential service during COVID. Photo Anne Keen

While Gloucester business owner Lindy Dupree kept her book shop open as a service to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, she didn't quite expect to sell so many jigsaw puzzles.

"It's the toilet paper of the book industry," she laughed, commenting on how she has sold out and is struggling to get more stock.

Being the only book shop in town, Lindy felt it was important to offer people the chance to reacquaint themselves with a good old-fashioned book.

"I think people were over devices. Their only choice was television or computer screens," she said. "People are re-appreciating buying books and coming into the book shop."

Business started to pick up after MidCoast Council closed the library and continued to gain momentum when she started to offer a delivery service.

"I felt like I was an essential service once the library had closed," Lindy explained.

And offering to deliver books to people around the community meant they were able to keep reading without having to worry about coming into the shop.

"People really appreciated it," she said.

Gloucester Book Shop isn't Lindy's only business venture as she also runs a travel agency, a business heavily impacted by COVID.

"On March 11, the travel industry stopped, the moment the World Health Organisation declared a pandemic," she explained.

Her travel business changed from selling to managing as she assisted clients with travel alterations. Fortunately, she didn't have anyone overseas at the time who needed to find a way home.

"Having a mixed business was a blessing," Lindy said.

And the COVID crisis motivated her to rethink her business model.

"I realised that online was very important. We revamped our website and starting selling to Gloucester and beyond."

As well as putting her books online, she has also diversified the stock she's offering in the store, bringing in a range of homewares.

"I think it's nice for the businesses in Gloucester to sell something unique, things you can't find anywhere else."