A new chapter in the life of the Covered Treasures bookstore has employees and customers thankful but glad the last challenge-filled chapter is over.
On July 6, 2018, the staff of the 105 2nd St., Monument, bookshop opened the door to a waterlogged surprise. Owner Tommie Plank, longtime former business partner Leona LaCroix, and employees Paula Primavera and Pam Sparks stood that morning in the waterlogged ruins of the shop, their shoes squishing into the sodden carpet, wiring hanging from the ceiling, and sopping wet ceiling tiles broken all over the floor. They took a few moments to grieve, but then determination to rebuild took over.
“After we cried a little bit we said, ‘this can’t be the way we close,’” Plank said.
The plumbing leak that flooded the historic building meant months of rebuilding, loss of inventory and several temporary, incremental fixes before the store was able to return to full operations.
“It was hard on all of us, both emotionally and physically,” Plank says, “And our customers, they were so afraid maybe we wouldn’t be here.”
But now “everything is back together,” she says. She’s still sorting through a few remaining boxes and working on getting inventory back up to where it was, but the renovations are complete and the new layout is a hit.
“Everybody loves the way it’s arranged,” Plank reports.
Customers say, “It looks bigger. How does it look bigger?”
The pharmacy next door is owned and operated by the building’s owners, Lee and Rob Frisbie. Even before the water damage occurred changes to the building had been planned because of some new regulations for compounding pharmacies. Covered Treasures had arranged to trade its children’s room — adjacent to the pharmacy — for two other rooms. They have since made those changes happen, and now one of the bookstore’s “new” rooms serves as an office and book-club meeting space while the other is the new children’s room.
The flow of the store’s rooms now forms a circle instead of a row.
Employees like the new layout because it’s more compact and more convenient for them to be able to service the children’s room.
Bookseller Pam Sparks summed up by saying, “I like the way it turned out but I wouldn’t recommend this reason for a remodel.”
Plank lauded the various ways customers came to their aid during the past year.
“Our customers are just so, so loyal and so supportive. We did have a couple of customers donate some money, and some customers donate some time to do some work in the shop. People helped us move books and bookcases a number of times while work was being done. A couple came and painted the ugly subfloors so they wouldn’t look so bad. It’s been so heartwarming. They made a really devastating situation something we could put hope in.”
There is new lighting and flooring throughout, including new carpeting in the cash register area.
The building also has brand new electrical wiring now. The construction people had to remove large sections of stucco during renovation.
The results have been worth the trouble, Plank reports, in another way.
“In the last big thunderstorm, we didn’t lose our power. And we used to always lose our power.”
The store celebrated its new look and its 26th anniversary with a party last Thursday at the store.