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‘Catalyst Sessions’ recap: Alsace Walentine (Tombolo Books)

Bill DeYoung

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Alsace Walentine isn’t about to let a little thing like the Covid-19 situation keep her from making recommendations to her valued customers.

On Wednesday’s episode of The Catalyst Sessions, the owner of Tombolo Books took a few moments to show the camera each of her independent shop’s five current – as in, while the doors of Tombolo remain closed – bestsellers.

That’s because Tombolo’s inventory is kept up-to-date in real time on the website, and Walentine offers curbside pickup, along with bicycle or automobile delivery within certain areas of the city.

“You can browse on the website, without touching, unfortunately,” she said. “So the sales have been quite strong – because people need to read. They’re stuck at home. They need to entertain their children. They need to escape from their reality.

“And so I think more people than ever are reading right now. Not to mention the puzzling. Everyone’s doing jigsaw puzzles! So we’ve had strong jigsaw puzzle sales and strong book sales.”

Alsace Walentine’s positive outlook and unshakeable belief in her chosen profession came to the fore again and again in the conversation, with covered a plethora of topics, from the importance of independent retailers in a busy community to the somewhat lengthy road she traveled to establish Tombolo – which started as a pop-up business – into a brick-and-mortar store.

Which it became last December, just three months before the pandemic forced Walentine to keep people out.

For now.

Tonight (May 21) on The Catalyst Sessions: Kevin Chadwick, owner of the soon-to-open Floridian Social Club (formerly the State Theatre).

Streaming weekdays at 7 p.m. on the Catalyst Facebook page.

In this screen shot from a video, Tombolo Books owner Alsace Walentine makes a home delivery.

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