Russell Books Adds Even More Space
Posted: 03 Oct 2008
By Times Colonist (Victoria) October 3, 2008
Canada's largest used book retailer is getting even bigger.
Russell Books is taking over the top floor of an adjoining building at its downtown store, adding 3,000 square feet that will allow a reorganization of subject matter and the shelving of thousands of additional titles.
Owners Ron and Diana DePol say the total footprint at Russell Books -- which includes its Fort Street location and the basement of the Sayward Building at View and Douglas streets -- is now more than 13,000 square feet.
There are between 800 and 900 used book stores in Canada, and Ron DePol says none are larger in either space or inventory. Russell Books currently employs 25 staff.
With more than a million books in stock, DePol said the extra space will now allow him to display about half of the inventory and increase the area he needs to process burgeoning online sales through Abebooks, Amazon, eBay and three other virtual book-selling websites.
"We've been after the space for years, so it's nice to finally start getting it ready," said DePol, 69.
DePol's son, Chad, is currently renovating the space above B.C. Shaver & Hobbies. A doorway is being cut to join the upstairs levels, and the narrow stairwell to its current top floor will be replaced by a wider street-access stairwell next door.
The former beauty salon is being stripped to the bone with 13 rooms knocked down and five giant dumpsters filled to create the open space, which will feature padded-seat bay windows. Shelves are being built at the store and the Sayward site, and the new area should be open by Thanksgiving, said Andrea Minter, DePol's daughter who manages the operation with husband Jordan Minter.
Russell Books was started in Victoria in 1991 and traces its roots to a store started in 1962 in Montreal by family patriarch Reg Russell, Diana DePol's father.
Russell died last February at age 96. His Montreal bookstore on St. Antoine Street West was a book browser's dream, a model the Depol family has successfully built upon at its Fort Street store.
Russell buys up to 500 books a day and sells between 500 and 1,000, Andrea Minter said. The growth area is in Internet sales, which have increased five per cent in the last year and now require three staff to manage and do shipping.
"We do more business in this area alone than most book stores in North America do [overall]," said DePol, adding online sales now represent about 10 per cent of total revenues.
"The potential is phenomenal. I thought it may level off, but it's not. It's becoming very significant in terms of revenue."
Open Monday-Saturday from 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Sundays and Holidays from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Books on View - Located downstairs at 702 View St Store Hours
Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
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