The boring of cherry creek
Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 02:01
I am constantly in search of old books. As such, I often find myself trying to find new bookstores, hoping to nab that gem under piles of dusty tomes.
Recently I thought I’d try my luck at The Hermitage Bookshop in Cherry Creek.
And boy, was I let down. They have a lot of interesting books there, but it lacks the atmosphere of a vintage bookshop. It has the books, but without the soul.
Everything in Hermitage is neat. The shelves are evenly spaced and logically filled, by subject and then alphabetically. The floors are pristine and every book is in its place, all catalogued and organized.
A purveyor of antique volumes should be messy and disorderly. I want the possibility of stumbling upon a textual treasure, buried under piles of misladen bindings. In fact, I want to paw through piles of books, moving stacks and getting lost.
And I didn’t realize my longing for sloppy bookkeeping until experiencing its antithesis in Hermitage. Everything is simply too perfect and suspended in a visceral falsity, it is obvious that the shopkeepers’ first priority is keeping a shop, not collecting and selling old books.
And this is the attitude, I realize now, that permeates all of Cherry Creek. This is why I try to avoid the overpriced and pretentious collection of shops there: they are not passionate about what they’re peddling, just about pleasing the customer.
The high price tag is only one facet of their superficiality. The rest arises from the layer of faux smiles and meaninglessly clean displays that plague their storefronts.
When there is more shelf space visible than product, I know that a store has paid more heed to its outward appearance and corporate structure than to its improvement of product.
That’s why I love mom-and-pop shops, like Broadway Book Mall or The Market; they may keep their margins low and have a lack of structured working environment, but they are passionate about their business.
They are in business to be in business, not to make money. And that shines through every aspect of the experience of being there, from conversations with the employees to the quality of their products and the satisfaction you get from buying there.