Their Life's Work: Online book sales keeping Geneva bookstore afloat

  • Roxanne and Chuck Osborne, owners of Harvey's Tales, Books and Other Diversions bookstore in Geneva have turned selling books by mail and porch delivery during the coronavirus pandemic.

      Roxanne and Chuck Osborne, owners of Harvey's Tales, Books and Other Diversions bookstore in Geneva have turned selling books by mail and porch delivery during the coronavirus pandemic. Jeff Knox | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/17/2020 6:51 AM

Stacks of empty boxes waiting to be filled with books line the entryway to Harvey's Tales, Books and Other Diversions bookstore in Geneva. "In normal times, we try to provide an escape for people," said Chuck Osborne of Geneva, who along with his wife Roxanne opened their post-retirement business 18 months ago.

Before the pandemic, the bulk of their business was foot traffic in the store. Now virtually all of the business is mail order or porch delivery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It's been a totally rewarding experience for us. We feel like we've added to the sense of community," Chuck said.

During the stay-at-home order they connect weekly by reading a children's book live on Instagram every Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.

In order to help keep their business afloat, they have applied for aid through the stimulus program but find the process flawed.

"While our local bank has been trying to accommodate, they seem to have as many questions as we do about how it all goes together," Osborne said. "We also do business with one of the big banks and they have been totally uninterested in trying to help."

Instead of greeting customers as they come through the door, their days are spent boxing up books.

"With things the way they currently are, we think that those books are even more valuable now," he said

• Do you know of a suburban small business with a compelling story to tell about working through the pandemic? Send me a detailed email with LIFE'S WORK in the subject line at jknox@dailyherald.com, and we'll consider it.

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