She enjoyed the work, but she still felt her self-described “entrepreneurial style” nagging at her. “I was looking to do my own thing, and I was looking at a few different options,” she explains. While Magistro was mainly looking to open up a business in the dining industry, she couldn’t ignore fate when, in 2005, one of the bookstore’s co-owners asked if she’d be interested in buying her share of the bookstore.
Magistro took the leap and said yes. Since then, the Bookworm of Edwards has gone through numerous changes—including a move to a new location, ownership restructuring (Magistro is now the sole owner), and even the addition of a coffee shop and cafe.
While exciting, owning the store hasn’t been without its challenges. With huge sellers like Amazon impacting the way that all goods—including books—are sold, Magistro has had to continue to find ways to reach her audience and keep her doors open. “Amazon had a really negative effect on the existence of independent booksellers,” she says, “Those that were operating with passion principles or more hobby-style ownership were the first stores to go.”
That level of competition and those unexpected challenges are frustrating and sometimes disheartening, of course, but they’re also incredibly enlightening. In fact, it’s roadblocks just like those that have taught Magistro a few valuable business lessons.
Find Your Focus
With a giant like Amazon breathing down the necks of so many independent booksellers across the nation, Magistro knows it would’ve been easy for her to scramble to keep up with the changing trends in a likely fruitless effort to stay in the race.
But, she didn’t cave or panic. Instead, she leveraged this competitive matchup as an opportunity to find her niche and zone in on the things that kept customers coming back to the Bookworm—an important lesson for any business owner.
“Whether that’s in the bookstore or in the cafe, we’re constantly evaluating what we do, what we carry, what we believe in, and what we choose to get behind.”
“At the end of the day, what I have found to the most sustainable—from both a profit perspective and from a culture perspective—is to just say, ‘We will focus on what we do best,’” Magistro explains.
For the Bookworm, she says without hesitation that it’s the curation of selection and quality of product that the store’s customers have come to expect.
“Whether that’s in the bookstore or in the cafe, we’re constantly evaluating what we do, what we carry, what we believe in, and what we choose to get behind based on a very curated selection of quality stuff,” she adds.