Take that Amazon: The Reading Bug’s Got Bunny Chairs

Daisy table & bunny chairs at The Reading Bug in San Carlos

Since The Reading Bug expanded into the space next door, owners Diane Savage (a practicing lawyer who also teaches business law at Stanford) and her daughter-in-law Lauren have been busy ramping up the cuteness factor.

While the indie store sells books, the brick and mortar’s business strategy includes making their store a destination for children and their parents.  This includes investing in store design.

When I walked into the shop today to get a gift for a toddler (a lady bug that projects stars onto the ceiling), my daughter and I hardly knew where to look.

First, there was that set of daisy table and bunny seats.  If you must have one at home, the set is available by special order and will set you back $480.

For those who prefer chairs resembling fanciful fungus, there’s the mushroom table and stools.   I was tempted to go sit on it, but a grown man beat me to it.  (He had an excuse:  young children.)

In the new large event/party space at the back of the store, the Savage’s have added what looks like a giant mural, except it’s not.  It’s wallpaper digitized from an original piece of art illustrated by Bronwyn Lewis who studied at The Rhode Island School of Design.

Custom art includes images of Lauren Savage's children & dog

The extra space – now 5,000 square feet -  has allowed The Reading Bug to add more titles for kids, young adults and grown-ups.

Of course, this being 2011, The Reading Bug also sells books online through its website.  Under the tab “staff picks” you’ll find suggestions for what to read after your young reader has zipped through Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Twilight.

Like many a small business, The Reading Bug also leverages social media like Facebook and Twitter to update customers on events and specials.  Social media specialist Melanie Yunk of Roaring Pajamas says she’s been especially impressed by Diane Savage’s use of Twitter to connect with customers.

A chair shaped like a butterfly

Once enticed into the store, the enchanted woodland design is intended to encourage customers to browse, linger and explore.  The Reading Bug continues to add, “little things around each corner that kids can have fun with,” said Lauren Savage.

I’m still waiting for the promised interactive fairy doors.   May have to borrow a neighbor’s kid to give me an excuse to try them out.







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