I'm Sorry for the Delay...

I think I spend maybe 25% of my time apologizing to someone for being late. So now I can add this blog post to my list of things I'm sorry for being late with sending out.

So Stax is 5 months old now. I am mainly in the store on the weekends because my day job is keeping me very busy. After the summer rush dies down, I want to be in the store more. Right now, Mike handles the day-to-day, really stressful stuff and I handle the social media, marketing, and author events (which is also stressful).

(Speaking of which, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Sign up for our newsletter here. And if you know of any authors who may want to do an author signing or reading at Stax, please email me here.)

When I graduated from Bentley (then College, not University) with a degree in Marketing, the Internet was really just starting to be a thing so marketing techniques may have been a little different but the common sense of it is the same. I never thought I'd be "good" at it. And by that I mean good enough. I am learning to just go for it. Chances are I won't get it exactly right the first time but I'll learn something from the experience that I can apply to the next time. Wish I could have figure this out about 20 years ago but better late than never. :)

Come for a visit and buy some books! And tell your friends! And family! And strangers on the T!

Stax and Motown...Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter

Happy April! I'm ready for springtime weather. No more boots, scarfs, hats, and winter coats. I think my age is showing. The winter wasn't really that bad! We've definitely had worse but I am done.

When Mike and I opened Stax, we figured we'd have music playing in the store but didn't talk about what kind of music. I like all different kinds of music and I can listen to almost anything (almost...I have been known to tell my kids or Mike to shut something off because I just couldn't). Mike and I definitely have different tastes in music, though. I tend to lean toward the more pop music and '80s music end of things whereas Mike is more rock and bluesy jazz.

What is the right music for Stax? The music sets the tone of the store, right? I remember going into a store where I was way outside of the demographic for the store (I was too old is what I mean) and the music was loud and pounding. I couldn't stay that long. In other stores, the music is just background noise that you don't even hear. Or sometimes it's familiar and you find yourself humming along as you shop. I wanted the music in Stax to be pleasant and not drive people away. 

When I am working in the store, the music is usually something from Motown in the '60s and '70s with some Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darrin mixed in. Mike would rather stick forks in his ears than listen to Bobby Darrin and when he was working he'd play rock or blues. When we were in the store together, one of us would change the music when the other went in back for something or left the store. I mean, rock and jazz? All of the guitar riffs? The 5-minute guitar solos? Not in Stax. I didn't feel like that was the vibe of Stax. The aura...the ambiance. 

We tried easy listening, classical, orchestral movie themes but somehow we always ended up on Motown. Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Earth Wind and Fire, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5. What is it about this music that makes it right for Stax for me?

As I was working the other day, I had a vivid memory of going somewhere with my grandfather in his Jeep. This was in the '80s. He put on the "oldies" station and I groaned. I didn't want to listen to the oldies. Turn on 92 PRO FM and listen to Paula Abdul or New Kids on the Block! That wasn't going to happen so I listened to the "oldies" on my adventures with my grandfather. The anniversary of Marvin Gaye's death was April 1st and I remember hearing it announced on the radio and my mother being upset. Flip through her records (boy, do I wish I had those today!) and Marvin Gaye was one of her favorites.

These songs and artists were a part of my childhood. They remind me of my family. They are like comfort food or a nice cozy, warm blanket on a cold day. When I'm working at Stax and I hear these songs, I feel happy. I sing (when I'm alone) and I dance as I'm stacking books or straightening up the shelves. This music just fits me and Stax when I'm working there. I don't listen to early Motown at any other time. If I'm not listening to podcasts, I'm listening to my '80s or '90s music, Beyonce, Chance the Rapper, or something else my kids have introduced to me, like Kendrick Lamar.

Not sure what the personality of Stax will end up being. We are still figuring it out. More people are finding us though and we are truly grateful. Many people have told us what a risky endevour opening this store is and, believe me, we know that. My answer to those people is

Ain't No Mountain High Enough, we've got this

Don't Shop Around, come to Stax

We Ain't Too Proud to Beg

How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)

Heaven Must Have Sent You

When you need something to read, Reach Out, I'll Be There

I Second That Emotion of loving books

I get a Love Hangover from reading so many books

I Can't Help Myself

Mercy Mercy Me

Sign up for the Stax Discount Books newsletter at staxbooks.com or on Facebook. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. I wish I could figure out SnapChat. It looks fun.



P.S. I consider it a good day when I've heard Got To Give It Up by Marvin Gaye and September by Earth Wind and Fire. And because you asked, my favorite podcast right now is Crime Writers On. Crime writers talk about true crime podcasts, documentaries, books, and they are hilarious! Check them out!

Longhorn Pager Works at Stax!

Stax Discount Books is 3 months old. We are starting to recognize faces and sounds and while lying on our stomach we are able to raise our head and look around. In other words, we are starting to figure out who we are as a store and where we want to go in the future. As with most things in life, our plans have had to change and shift but owning this store has been a huge learning experience for me. I continue to push myself outside of my comfort zone and get things done despite not knowing what I’m doing.

I don’t get to be in the store as often as I’d like because I’m still working full time. My favorite parts of working in Stax are when someone asks me for a recommendation and I know the perfect book to suggest, when little kids come into the store and are excited about getting a book, and when I talk to the people who are just like me and are buying books even though they have a stack at home. I get such a thrill!

Books shouldn’t be a luxury. Kids should be able to have books of their own that they know are theirs and they don’t have to return. This is part of the reason we discount the books. I mean, there’s the whole business side of it where we want to be competitive and make money but there’s also the part where we know that the cost of books can be quite prohibitive and we want to help where we can.

As Stax grows and we learn more and more about our customers, we will change and adapt to meet our customer’s needs. We never get tired of hearing that people are happy to have a bookstore in Marlborough. People are still discovering us so tell all of your friends and family. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. And remember that while you are waiting for your table at Longhorn, the pager works at Stax!

Until next time,

Tracey and Mike

Escape with books!

Stax is now two months old and due to some press in Metrowest Daily News a lot of people have found us and have been coming into the store. It's been wonderful meeting people and talking about books and reading. I knew this would be one of my favorite parts of owning a bookstore. I've always felt like book people were "my people".

As for what's next, we are continuing to grow and we want to reach out to the community and see where and how we can help to bring books and reading into the hands of the community. We are going to schedule more author events like the one we had last month with Heather Graham and Jon Land. We also have our first book club coming up at the end of the month. The book we are reading is The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani.

I've always loved to read. Reading brought me to new places where I met people who didn't live in my city and were not the same race or religion as I am. I may have been a shy, socially awkward person but I think I grew up to be a compassionate person because of how much I read. I was able to put myself in different situations and imagine how I would feel. I have always felt that reading is important whether it's to learn something new or to escape reality. For me, this has become especially important.

Come on down to Stax! We have plenty of current titles and overstocks, all discounted. No books are full price at Stax.

Stax Discount Books is 30 Days Old!

Oh man...we own a bookstore. It's a dream come true but never did I think I would ever get the chance. Luckily, I met Mike who might love books as much as I do and the rest is history.

Stax Discount Books is a combination of both of our ideas of a bookstore. We both want to offer readers books at afforable prices and I want to meet as many book people as I can because book people are special people. We both missed having a neighborhood bookstore where we could browse and talk about books. The most important thing, though, we also need to make a living because I've grown accustomed to living in my house and eating food. We were still pretty sure that we were not the only ones who would like a bookstore in the metrowest area. So we took the chance and opened Stax at the end of 2016.

I wouldn't recommend opening a bookstore so close to the holidays. It's super stressful. It's probably stressful at any time but right before the holidays was super, super stressful. There were so many things that we had planned that didn't happen for various reasons and we had to think fast on our feet to figure something else out. We are happy that people have embraced us and welcomed us into the neighborhood. We've had many people come into the store and say how happy they were that there was a bookstore in Marlborough. We feel the same way.

In the coming months, we will be announcing author events and our first book club selection. Like and follow us on Facebook at the Stax Books page. We are also on Twitter and Instagram at @StaxBooks.

Thank you so much!

Tracey and Mike