Customers rally to support Imagined Things after shop's 'worst day'

Customers rally to support Imagined Things after shop's 'worst day'

An independent bookshop in Harrogate has experienced a "phenomenal" response to a desperate Twitter plea for sales after only taking £12.34 in a day.

Imagined Things tweeted out a message asking for support on Monday (25th June) after struggling to make money. The request was retweeted more than 2,000 times with the public clamouring to back the retailer.

Such was the outpouring that the shop is opening up an online platform to deal with transactions from orders through the social media platform.

Owner Georgia Duffy tweeted on Monday evening: “We only took £12.34 today...if anyone was thinking about buying a book now would be a great time! Things have been tough recently -  today the worst day ever. A card, a book, anything makes a huge difference to a small business like ours. We'd be very grateful for your support.”

Customers rushed to support the bookshop, which opened almost a year ago with many thousands 'liking' and retweeting the tweet as well as messages of support flooding in from customers.

Hannah Preston tweeted: "I went to Harrogate for my "treat yo'self" day this year & spent a lot of time in this lovely bookstore. Thought it was wonderful. You really should go & buy something if you're visiting/live in Harrogate!"

Another Twitter user, known as as @patart69, said: "I stand behind the counter of an independent shop at midnight I feel your pain. Too many people buying online and wanting stuff cheap. Too few supporting locals. They'll miss us when we are gone."

Hours after sending the initial tweet, Duffy shared “the biggest thank you to everyone who has supported us so far”.

“Absolutely phenomenal response on here everyone,” she tweeted. “Didn't expect this at all!”

"Thank you so much everyone for all your support and messages. We're utterly overwhelmed & can't keep up! If we've missed anyone we're really sorry! Please DM or email or ring us if you'd like a response/for an order. We'll get through them ASAP."

Duffy told The Bookseller that the response had been "amazing".

She said: "I can’t believe it, I never expected it. I am still going through all the orders. It has been pretty dreadful over the last few weeks. I have been worried about the shop, because we are still quite new and we are building it up. I thought, ‘this can’t carry on’.”

The former radiographer said this year trading has been a “struggle”, possibly due to the fact the shop is new, as well as the hot weather over the last few weeks and a road closure around Harrogate.

She revealed that she was initially unsure about whether to publicly appeal for support.

“I was in two minds about the tweet because you can’t read the tone online but I thought it may encourge people who are thinking of visiting us to come in” Duffy said. “By the time I went to bed yesterday my tweet had got 157,000 impressions on Twitter. We got 1,000 followers overnight and it had taken us a year just to build up 900 before that.

“We’ve had people getting in touch on Twitter, coming into the shop, calling through for books even from people who live far away. We are looking at an online shop but it will be a limited selection and it is expensive to run.”

Duffy hopes that this will help mark a change in direction for the store’s fortunes.

“Hopefully this will be the start of people knowing us better,” she said. “I hope it will encourage people to think about other independent bookshops and indie shops in general and all the costs we face to run. Even just spending a few pounds makes a huge difference. I want people to know that they can make a difference to their local shop.”

Imagined Things was launched last July by Duffy in the premises of a former toyshop which had been left vacant for over a year. It stocks a wide range of genres and titles with more focus given to science fiction and fantasy.