zero to ten with alyssa pressler

Business ownership is… difficult, to say the least. And Alyssa Pressler, the owner of That’s Novel Books, found that out pretty quickly when she closed her business just 2 weeks after her grand opening due to Covid-19.

In March last year, right around the time of North Carolina’s statewide stay-at-home order, hygge’s owner Garrett Tichy sat down with a number of local business owners to ask them how they were faring in the face of the pandemic. The conversations were part of Support Local Or Else, and initiative we started with Black Wednesday.

And during that initial conversation, Alyssa was fairly optimistic in the face of everything. Now, looking back over a year later, she wonders why that was.

“I poured my heart into this business for like two months straight to get it opened by February 28, and by the third weekend we were shut down completely,” she told Garrett on Zero to Ten. “I don’t think I fully wrapped my head around that.”

This is a particularly interesting follow-up conversation because Garrett is also part-owner in That’s Novel Books. Alyssa talks about how that arrangement essentially saved the used bookstore during the pandemic – the flexibility in being able to remain closed with no rent was a life saver.

Still, the nature of the pandemic completely changed the structure of the business, which was designed to be a space where people could gather. This was a difficult thing to come to terms with for Alyssa, who never got to see if her original vision would have worked.

Now, a year-plus later, the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit happening at Camp North End and the increase in vaccinated folks has driven business to the store. Alyssa and Garrett are close to paying off the debt incurred from opening, and then plan to change the structure of the store to increase traffic while also providing a space for other small retailers to showcase their products.

Throughout the last year-and-a-half, Alyssa has truly discovered how difficult business ownership is and has grown to appreciate all the work that goes into running a small retail shop.

“If you’re listening and you’re not a business owner or don’t work for a small business, I don’t know, give people some grace and some understanding wherever you can,” she says in the Zero to Ten episode. “Support local, please for the love of god whenever you can, support local. Amazon does not need your business, but local bookstores do, local coworking spaces do, local music shops do. That effort shouldn’t diminish just because people are vaccinated and things feel different now.”

Listen to the full conversation above or find Zero to Ten wherever you listen to podcasts.

make it official.

You’ve made it this far. Just one more step. Hit the button below and fill out the form on the next page.

day passes.

Visiting from out of town or need an escape for just one day? Come hang with us. It’s only $20