MLB at a Glance
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If you are interested in exploring the purchase of Mystery Lovers Bookshop, there is information for you here.
Since it opened to big fanfare on Halloween of 1990 Mystery Lovers Bookshop has put Western Pennsylvania on the book world’s map as the target destination for book tours with hundreds of imaginative and packed author events.
The store has sponsored the area’s only Book Festival now in its 17th year with 45 authors and 400 readers attending. For over 15 years, Mystery Lovers has been a reporting store to the New York Times bestseller lists.
Some other key points about the store:
- Opened on Halloween 1990 in an 1,100 square foot space in Oakmont, Pennsylvania; outside Pittsburgh. Oakmont is a riverside community of 6,000 with a commercial street, Allegheny River Boulevard, filled with owner-operated stores and restaurants. It is 30 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh and 10 minutes from a Pennsylvania Turnpike exit.
- Expanded in 1992 to 1,900 square feet and added a café seating 24, the first bookstore café in Pittsburgh
- Owners are Richard Goldman and Mary Alice Gorman, husband and wife, with backgrounds in software development and non-profit agency management, respectively.
- Our key staff members have been with the store for over 15 years and are committed to the business.
- We carry only new books. Book sales account for 93% of sales and 73% of those sales are mystery. Children’s, fiction and nonfiction and special orders make up the rest.
- Sidelines, primarily jigsaw puzzles and games, account for 7% of sales.
- We draw customers to the store from the four-state area of Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, Northern West Virginia and Western New York. Our largest segment of local customers comes from the city of Pittsburgh and the eastern and northern suburbs.
- Always innovative and on the cutting edge, the store’s website at www.mysterylovers.com retains its unique and proprietary content including reviews, settings and series character information.
- Mail order sales have grown to 25% of the overall business of the store.
- We’ve been profitable for the past two years with Total Owner Benefit in excess of 10% of sales.
- We have an email list of over 6,200 subscribers and maintain a generally weekly schedule for email newsletters. The email list grows about 1% a month largely through web orders and in-store promotion.
- We’ve been active on Facebook for over a year and currently have over 1,400 fans. We post several times a week, including photos of author events, through several admins including the owners
- We began a Twitter feed in late 2011 and currently have over 160 followers. Our volunteer tweeter, a customer and member of our Sisters in Crime chapter, provides the primary tweeting.
- In September of 2011 we began sales of eBooks through the Google Books program and the American Booksellers Association Indie.com. See ebooks.mysterylovers.com for more.
- Comparison with peer stores through the Abacus survey demonstrates that our results are superior. We have higher owner compensation, lower operating and occupancy costs and substantially better profitability than typical stores our size.
- Our career as mystery booksellers was capped recently with a Raven Award from the Mystery Writers of America for contribution to the genre. Additional recognition includes Pittsburgh Magazine’s Excellence in the Arts Award for our events, including the Annual Festival of Mystery. Pittsburgh Magazine also named us #26 of the 101 Best Things About Pittsburgh-----one of the very few businesses to be so named. The winner of Berkley Books 1995 Bookseller of the Year Award, we were also nominated for the same award from Publisher’s Weekly in 1999, 2001 and 2003. Recognition in a cover story on “Dream Jobs” in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in 2002 and Reader’s Digest in 2003 hasn’t hurt either. Two more recent mentions in Pittsburgh Magazine as a Best of the ‘burgh round out our leadership distinctions.
- November and December 2011 sales were up 11% from prior year.
- Our current lease expires in October 2012. Our landlord has offered a renewal with a 4% increase in rent.
An increase of 58% in sales over the Thanksgiving 2011 weekend and two years of profit in the store’s year end results was a sign to current owners that a vigorous and aggressive marketing approach was needed in 2012 to capitalize on that striking success rate. For this we are seeking an energetic and smart new owner to take Mystery Lovers into the next 20 years.
Dear Prospective New Owner
We’re pleased that you have an interest in becoming the owner of Mystery Lovers Bookshop. We’d like to know a little more about you before we get too much further into the discussion.
Please send us a note (514 Allegheny River Blvd, Oakmont PA 15139) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Contact information: name, address, phone, email
- Tell us briefly about your career to this point.
- Would you plan on working full time in the business? Give us a brief outline of your approach: working now, retired, plan to retire, etc.
- How much money would you estimate that you would be prepared to invest between the purchase price and initial investments you would have to make in the business? A range of numbers is OK.
- What are your three top questions for the owners about purchasing the store?
- What’s your favorite feature on our website?
Pictures for use in stories related to our search for a new owner
Owners Mary Alice Gorman and Richard Goldman
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View of the store
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