From the Owners of Love’s Sweet Arrow

Hey all! So Marissa emailed the site “Hello!” about the Kickstarter for Love’s Sweet Arrow … which was unfortunately unsuccessful but they persevered and decided to open anyway! Also, she and her mother eventually sent other articles … so here we are though! Today is the grand opening of Love’s Sweet Arrow, and this is what Marissa and Roseann sent!

From Roseann:

It all started last summer, the lottery was up to some really high millions and millions, and as people are won’t to play when it gets really high, we all start dreaming! Well our dream was, we would open a Romance Exclusive Bookstore, well, we did not win. However once a seed starts to take hold, the dream becomes a reality. So for a couple of months we kicked around ideas, brainstormed, had a lot of back and forth discussions with family and decided to do it!

Our first big decision was a name, so we wrote down some choices on a white board, and let them stew for a couple of weeks, then both agreed that Love’s Sweet Arrow was it. Marissa then did a search to make sure no one else had it copyrighted, or was using it for their business and away we went.
Around this time we talked to other book sellers and they all had good advice, and were very helpful. One manager told us his standard answer when someone says they want to open a bookstore, is don’t do it! Another just wanted us to make sure we understood how much work it was, and they were so right! Both Marissa and I are still working our full time jobs, and school doesn’t end until a week before opening. I am exhausted and not afraid to admit it!
The next big decision was funding, (remember we didn’t win the lottery!) we researched what crowd funding would be best for us and decided to go with Kickstarter.We spent a few months figuring out, planning and setting up the creators page. Kickstarter is a full time job, and we devoted as much time as we could to it, we lived breathed and slept for a whole month with only kickstarter on our mind! And then we were unsuccessful! And you know what? Its OK, I truly feel like we learned so much about ourselves and romancelandia and about how wonderful and people are that we were not giving up on our dream! Was there things would could have/ should have done differently, sure but at the end of the day, it is what it is! And we had lots of people ask us were we still moving forward and our answer has been yes!!
So now what we asked ourselves? Again we discussed with our family, and decided to go ahead on a smaller scale. So we ditched our 3000 square foot dream location and started looking smaller. With in a few weeks we had a smaller 1400 square foot location in mind, which included a warehouse and we started moving forward again. We are very lucky that we had family members who were willing to front us some start up funds, and Marissa and I have both used some of our $ to get us started.
Is anyone ever prepared and ready to start a business? I am not sure anyone can forsee the future and we are the same way! For a while every time I would start to feel good about the direction we were heading a monkey wrench would be thrown in the mix. For instance we had a copy of the lease, and were looking it over and were feeling pretty confident, then our attorney said, wait and incorporate first, so that took a couple of weeks. Then that turned into changing all of our tax and banking info.
And then we were filling out and getting all of our book ordering ready, and we get the news that Baker and Taylor is getting out of the book distributing business soon, how will that affect us, fortunately it won’t for now but it involves a slight move in another direction for later in the summer. And it made us expand our horizons on who we work with, which is good thing. So fortunately we will be stocked on time!
This has been a roller coaster of a ride! We have laughed hysterically, like when a book I was reading broke down how much it takes in funding to open a book store, and that figure was $200,000. And Marissa and I have both been in tears, as we are figuring stuff out together! We have argued, and made up, and been a great support system to each other through it all, and learned a ton of new stuff about each other along the way!, And there is no one else who I would rather have as my partner in this business with!
So where are we now? We are a little over a month out of our grand opening! We believe we have all of our ducks in a row! However, if I have learned anything it is to expect the unexpected! We are signing the lease this week, are working on our insurance, and will be buying our books shelves soon. We have fabulous friends and family who have been supporting us, I even have my dad out there looking for bookshelves for us to help us save as much as we can for books. I have 5 sisters, and they are supporting us in different ways, one of my sisters is making our tote bags, another will be bookshelf shopping with us, and one is out there handing out flyers! My husband Marissa’s dad is helping with our website since he is a computer guru. My daughter in-law was offering free massages (she is a trained Masseuse) for her friends and family who gave to our kickstarter.
So what will our store look like? I am still brainstorming with my artist son, and other creative friends on decorating the store. We are getting in touch with independent companies to sell other cool products,  and looking at paint chips for the walls. We will have as many books in the store that our budget will allow. And we have plenty of room to grow, and we are ever learning, so I am hopeful. Will our bookstore be like anyone else? Nope because it is ours, our blood sweat and tears so to speak. Our we excited? We literally aren’t sleeping, we are so excited!
Thank you to Limecello for this great opportunity! And we hope to see all of you soon!!!!!
From Marissa:

My name is Marissa and I’m the daughter half of Love’s Sweet Arrow, a new romance bookstore opening in June in Tinley Park. Limecello was kind enough to let me write a little something, so here it is!

I had quite a tricky time thinking of what to write about. This is actually my third article that I have written. The first was just words, the second was about my autism. This one is about my feelings after reading Stripped by Zoey Castile, which I just finished reading and I have A LOT of feelings.

Stripped by Zoey Castile Book CoverSkilled, sculpted, and sexy, the men of adult entertainment are the kind of guys a woman reserves for her fantasiesnot her reality. But is there more to these professional hotties than meets the eye? …

The day Robyn Flores meets Zac Fallon is one of those days. You know, when you’re already late for work. Mostly because you haven’t really slept since your best friend abandoned you for her fiancé and her exponentially better life. The kind of day you drag yourself to the cleaners to pick up your laundry, only to discover you’ve got the wrong bag—Star Spangled sequined thong, anyone? So Robyn is definitely not ready for the ridiculously gorgeous guy at her front door, except that they have each other’s clothes. But then, is any woman ever ready to meet the love of her life?

There’s just one problem: Zac Fallon is not the love of Robyn’s life. Zac knows, despite the
all-too-intimate dinner they share, he doesn’t have a shot at her. Because the next time Zac sees Robyn, he’s front and center of the male revue headlining her best friend’s bachelorette party. So much for wooing the pretty schoolteacher, much less impressing her old-fashioned family, with his upstanding lifestyle. Now he’s only got one way to win his dream girl. It’s gonna be the steamiest, most irresistible seduction she’s ever seen. And this time it will be no act …

First, I really enjoyed reading it! It was a great story, sexy and emotional in all the best ways and I can’t wait to recommend it to readers once we open the store.

I really enjoyed the heroine and felt like Robyn was extremely relatable. I have been there as the super responsible friend holding everyone’s hair back and then all of the sudden, all of the friends get their shit together. Suddenly, you’re the one who everyone thinks is irresponsible because you are the unmarried one and your life suddenly feels suffocatingly adrift. I think about all of my old friends and classmates from grade school, high school, college, and they are all married. Many of them have multiple children. Before I bought my condo, even though I had a solid job, I was very insecure about where I was in life. I felt like a child in a group of adults. I’m more secure now in where I am with my own home and I have my own little fur family and I don’t have to perform emotional labor for an unequal partnership. I do enjoy the freedom I have as a single person and I get to make all of the decisions and have all of the control, which is nice!

Stripped was also interesting because I feel like while I’m so glad that authors have been writing lately about solid friendships, Castile chose to show how life circumstances can threaten friendships. Lily decides to demote Robyn to bridesmaid and make her future sister in law the maid of honor because Robyn hadn’t been doing the maid of honor duties and had been missing/been late to a ton of stuff. I wish there had been more devoted to their friendship in the story. There wasn’t quite enough for me in the beginning of the story and I needed a little more with the resolution. But what I saw of their friendship felt real to me and I appreciated it. Robyn was a lot more understanding than I would have been, but that is my reader baggage.

However, the big thing that I am so glad Castile talked about in the story is teacher burnout. This is a huge conversation in the education world and something I think every teacher either sees in their school somewhere or experiences themselves.

I have been open on twitter about how I am a special education teacher. I myself have felt some burnout this year. There are lots of reasons and if you ask me in person, I will gladly discuss them. I have a lot of feelings and thoughts, but I don’t know if this is the place to discuss them, mainly because I want to focus on the story and not on a tangent, as important as it is. I am also not using my feelings as a reason for opening the store. I have always dreamt of opening a bookstore after retirement, my mom and I just decided that life is short, why wait for dreams? And I recently talked about them to a colleague and she resoundingly agreed and immediately said she wanted to come to our opening party! I still have my teaching license and I am open to the prospect of teaching in the future if I want to.

Anyway, back to Stripped. Zoey did a pretty good job talking about being a teacher and feeling adrift. Teaching wasn’t Robyn’s dream, but I do think there are some teachers out there where teaching isn’t their passion. There are teachers who did it because it was a safe choice and they knew they could get a job. I’m not saying that in a way of judgment, people do that with all fields and there is a teacher shortage. However, this is contributing to teacher burnout. Robyn is someone who does her best at her job (her students clearly love her), despite not having a passion for it. And fortunately, Robyn’s experiences in the story are a catalyst for her validating what she really wants to do and taking the chance to fulfill them. Now, we all can’t find super wealthy strippers to help support us while we both follow our dreams, but one can dream! I did also like that even though Robyn was late to work, a symptom of the chaos her personal life was going through, she was still competent at her job. She was behind sometimes the night before, but she did her job well and taught her students.

Teaching is still something I enjoy and I am good at. My favorite part of the day last year was reading stories to my students and helping them discuss the stories we read. However, teaching is a job that can overwhelm your whole life, if you don’t set boundaries. It did to me my whole first year, but it was an overwhelming year. I changed grades, positions, and schools three weeks in. I went from the co-taught model to being the lead teacher in a completely different grade and I played catch up all year. That was how my work life balance got out of control. I would go to work at 6:30am once the school opened, and leave close to 5pm and then often prep for the next day/week at home until I went to bed. For Robyn, it was her personal life that affected how she prepared for work and how she started her days. Her personal life was affecting her sleep, which made her late to work, which made it hard to prep every day because she was tired. It was nice to read a story that showed a little how overwhelming a teacher’s job can be. I’m not saying every teacher experiences that or that every teacher cares enough to have the need to work on managing a balance, although I know a lot that do. And for me, I greatly appreciated that when Robyn decided that her life needed to go a different way, she didn’t hang on to teaching just for the security. Situations like that are how bad teachers can be made, when people hate what they do and do it because they have no other option. And because teaching impacts our future people, it’s worse when they are taught by people who don’t care or like what they do. Children don’t learn, they hate school, their whole future is impacted, and their sense of curiosity is gone.

I’ll end the review with repeating that I loved the book and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series, as well as other books by Zoey Castile. She wrote a thought provoking work, as well as a sexy romance.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

There were some issues with the file(s) so … hopefully the copy/paste worked! Anyway, if you’re ever in the area – check out Love’s Sweet Arrow and report back! 😀 It’s located at 17024 Oak Park Avenue, Tinley Park, IL 60477! if you wanted to plan a trip! 😛 

1 thought on “From the Owners of Love’s Sweet Arrow

  1. ki pha

    Congrats to the new bookstore! I’ve always wanted to open a bookstore (haven’t we all). It’s still something I want to do and I have so many ideas I want to put into it, but like anyone would say, starting a business is not easy. I’m glad you ladies got through it even when everything seems like it was going against you. Good luck and hope to hear updates.

    Reply

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