ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Many people are turning to books during social distancing for a much needed escape. In St. Pete, there is an independent bookstore owner that is making special deliveries on her bicycle every day.
Alsace Walentine is powering and pedaling through this pandemic, one delivery at a time, one book at at time.
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“We’re your neighbors you know, so you are supporting your neighbors, and you are keeping this little ecosystem that we have strong and healthy,” said Walentine.
Walentine opened Tombolo Books in December. Three months later, she had to close her doors to the public relying solely on deliveries.
“We are still able to have personal interactions with folks, they call up, and they email, and they ask for suggestions,” said Walentine. “We still get to talk about books, which is what our customers love and we love.”
Walentine packages books right inside the store. She never forgets to write a personal message to every single customer.
“We’re here for you, we are going to get you what you need to get through this,” said Walentine.
If you live in the downtown St. Pete area, there is a good possibility your book will arrive on the back of her bike, sometimes the very same day.
“Just connecting with people, that’s what we do is connect with people over books,” said Walentine. “I had one customer say, ‘my house is quiet right now because of Tombolo Books,' they have a bunch of children and they just had us deliver a bunch of kids books for them.”
During this time of quarantine, Walentine knows reading is more important than ever. She is dedicated to making sure members of her community always have another page to turn.
“Its so good for mental health to have something that’s going to keep you still and calm and focused and slow your brain down a little bit,” said Walentine.
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