Why Did We Back This Venture?

Why, someone asked us, would you decide to become backers of a bookstore/gaming cafe in a not-booming town in Southwestern Ontario?[1] During a pandemic, no less!

There are two ways to answer that question. One is practical and down to earth. The other is more abstract. Let’s side aside the practical issues for a moment and deal with the harder to nail down reasons first.

Our decision was in part philosophical.

We believe that Turns & Tales will become an important community resource.

One important lesson the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us, is that social interaction is an energizing process. It is something we took for granted until circumstances made it necessarily scarce and now we yearn to return to it. As we begin to return to something resembling the ‘before times,’ we do so with a greater appreciation of the joys of stimulating face-to-face conversations and interactions.

In a smaller community such as Chatham-Kent, social isolation can be particularly problematic. If we wish to keep Chatham-Kent a worthwhile place to live, we have to encourage an ongoing social environment. What better way to do that than to offer a place for actual game playing with actual human beings, a place rich in conversation and friendly rivalries? Consider, too, that a great stimulus to conversation is discussion about books, so combining a games venue with a book shop is the perfect answer. On top of that, food and drink is a marvellous encouragement to conversation, so locate the games and the books in a cafe and you have the perfect combination of elements.

It is one thing to invest in the local economy with regard to agriculture and industry, but we must also invest in the cultural and psychological health of the community. Chatham-Kent has to make itself inviting to young people if it is to thrive and grow. This area has an amazing historical legacy, the people are friendly, the setting is beautiful, and we can also make it intellectually stimulating. The best way to do that is to provide an opportunity for people to play games to an appreciative audience and to purchase and read and talk enthusiastically and even critically about all manner of books with other book lovers.

Things are loosening up, but they will never be the same post-pandemic. Large scale concerts and heavily attended sporting events will probably never be as frequent as they once were. The Covid-19 pandemic is not over, what with the Delta and Lambda and still undiscovered more potent variants. Smaller gatherings are going to have to be the way to go. If we want Chatham-Kent to be a going concern, we have to provide opportunities for smaller groups of people to get together safely and enjoyably. A literate community, one that encourages sharing ideas we like and debating ideas we are not so sure about, is a healthy community. That’s why Turns & Tales will be an important community resource.

And what practical reasons might we have? Well, first of all neither one of us feels it is ‘right’ to live in a town without a good functioning bookstore. Speaking for OUR generation this is the kind of store we think needs to exist to attract and keep at least some of the members of our community.

What other practical reasons might we have? Well, who wouldn’t want to work with Chandra Clarke and Terry Johnson? (We suggest you read their recent jointly authored book The Entrepreneurial Parent to get a sense of their business acumen and track record.[2])

In short, we two retired old codgers are putting down our marker and saying “yup, we believe in the next generation, we believe that Chandra and Terry are deeply committed to this community and its future and we believe that every town deserves to have a really good bookstore and gaming cafe.

– Hersch and Margaret

[1] This is NOT a question close friends tend to ask us. Most of our close friends responded to the news of our decision by telling us they too have always wanted to own/work/manage a book store..

[2] Available in e-book from from Kobo and audiobook from Libro-both affiliates of Turns & Tales. We promise you that you don’t need to an entrepreneur OR a parent to get a lot of good advice from the book.

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