PUNTA GORDA — Despite “holding their own” through coronavirus setbacks this summer, Copperfish Books owners Cathy Graham and Serena Wyckoff have opted to relocate their shop in Punta Gorda.
“We are in an opportunity mode (with the move) which is great and people are telling us how much they are excited too,” Graham said. “I’m glad to keep moving forward because I really think it is going to strengthen us to get through the next few years.”
They opened the bookstore in 2012 at a location just outside the city’s downtown area and have spent a little more than four years at their current spot on the corner of West Marion Avenue and northbound U.S. 41.
The new location at 212 W. Virginia Ave., Suite 112, is just a couple blocks away.
“At first, we weren’t even thinking about going anywhere. We were just hunkering down and working (through it all),” Graham said. “Our landlord made some offers that we considered given COVID-19 and whatever lies ahead that we don’t know. With that and the hits that so many of us have taken already, we thought for the long-term liability it would be the best move.”
Graham said they were able maintain through pandemic regulations partly due to expanding sales through their website, copperfishbooks.com.
“I think we are really holding our own,” Graham said. “We are around equal to our (physical) business as last summer which is pretty good given people’s reluctance to come out and things that are happening.
“We were working super hard, pivoting a lot and just trying new things. Our online sales helped to carry us so I’m so glad that we had that in place before, but it just wasn’t as robust. It’s stronger now.”
The new space will be smaller but the owners are confident their team will create a place that the community will embrace.
“Our regular customers will follow us there ... they’re going to be happy. We’ve gotten so many expressions of ‘Oh, I love it over there’,” Graham said. “It’s a little less rent and it’s a smaller space so we are losing about 500 square feet. We’re not going to be able to fit all the cases in there.”
Graham also anticipates losing some foot traffic with the new location.
“Again we are going to have to change some of our tactics and get them to come down the street,” Graham said.
They hope to make the move around the end of October but their lease isn’t up until Nov. 1.
“If we can get in a little earlier we will,” she said. “But we will be open all the way up to a couple days or so before the move. We’ll get over there and we’ll open right back up.”
Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct the date of the bookstore's relocation.