Mike Cope's blog

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CEO/PRESIDENT/BOSS/HEAD HONCHO OF BARNES AND NOBLE: Dear Mr. Barnes or Mrs. Noble or To Whom It May Concern: I'm groveling. Do hear me? Groveling. Begging you to come to Abilene, TX. Please don't judge us based on your first trip to town. As you drive in, look past the abandoned ranch and oil equipment, the adult bookstores, and all the billboards saying, "I'm more conservative than he is, so vote for me" or "huh-uh, I'm WAY more conservative than he is, so vote for me." You need to be in Abilene. There are 10,000 university students in this town. Plus their faculties. Plus lots of other people who read. And at the moment we are at the mercy of Hastings. God love 'em, they provide a good service to the community. You want a CD? Hastings. DVD? Ditto. Spiderman posters? Yep. But books? Please, please don't make me go back to the young woman who helped me last time. I asked if they had any books on Uganda. She replied, "Is that like a country or something?" I restrained myself from responding, "It's not just LIKE a country, it actually is one!" It was like a scene from that Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks movie (not "Sleepless in Seattle" -- the other one). They have 2000 copies of several books that don't interest me. There are also the local Christian bookstores that have a billion copies of the latest "Left Behind" books or some theological tome on the faith of Oliver North, but no one has heard of William Willimon. We're talking about the guy who has the whole Methodist Church (and a bunch of the rest of us) ready to cry, "uncle!" and no one has heard of him. I don't want to be snooty here. I've been known to read my share of Grisham novels. All right, frankly, I read them all a month after they come out. If you come, I'll do what I can to make it work. I'll pay the extra couple bucks and buy my Grisham books from you. And would it help if I put a free promo line on the front page of the bulletin at our church? Maybe I could sneak it into my sermons. Product placement, you know. Please, please . . . come to Abilene. And by the way, in Ft. Worth, there is a Pappasito's restaurant just half a mile from you. Would it be too much to request that you bring them with you? Mike Cope


  • Amen Brother!! Start a petition and I'll be the first to sign it!

    By Blogger Candy, at 8/25/2004 04:26:00 AM  

  • I live exactly one mile away from a Barnes & Noble AND a Borders. In additon, there's a Waldenbooks if you're cruising the mall (also one mile away). Feel free to use my house as a sabbatical location if this venture doesn't pan out.

    I notice you didn't mention Nicholas Sparks in this letter. Are you saving that in case you need an ace to close the deal later?

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 8/25/2004 05:49:00 AM  

  • This doesn't work. I tried the same thing in an open letter to Steve Jobs in an effort to get an Apple store in Jonesboro, AR. Eventually I just had to give up and move to Memphis, where we have Barnes and Nobel and also the Apple store, coldstone creamery, the Marble Slab, and also a large, gaudy pyramid we haven't paid for to house a team that doesn't want to be there while they play games they don't win. We also have Mayor Willie Herenton who is at least half the entertainment as the Texas state legislature -- and of roughly equivalent value.


    Yeah. I think my point was that in order to get a Barnes and Nobel, you are either going to have to move to Ft. Worth ... or invest in a franchise. Some churches are moving to malls... maybe you could mesh this to your advantage... "Highland church of Christ and Barnes & Nobel" Mike Cope, minister and assistant manager (the shepherds, of course, would be the managers). Think the elders would go for it?

    Me either.

    By Blogger Q, at 8/25/2004 05:52:00 AM  

  • One of my friends actually sent a letter to the B&N people her sophomore year at ACU, and they responded saying that Abilene would need to get about 50,000 more permanent residents to merit building a new store.

    There's gotta be a form we can fill out to override that stupid policy. No one knows what is going to replace the old Cisco Junior College on Judge Ely, however. I have good word (from the Abilene Reporter-News...no comments!) that a "major national chain" is talking to the owner of that strip mall. Let's hope it's Mrs. Barnes or Mr. Noble or whomever.

    By Blogger Steve Jr., at 8/25/2004 06:35:00 AM  

  • oh the joys of suburbia Houston. I don't want to rub it in, but it's great to have that Barnes and Noble and Pappasitos. Maybe you could get Matt to go to the store for you and send them via mail. Or it could be a great excuse to see him in Houston. I am sure the newlyweds wouldn't mind you bunking on their couch for a few days. Just a thought!

    By Blogger Michael, at 8/25/2004 06:56:00 AM  

  • Currently, Abilene has over 100,000 permanent residents. Why would it need 50,000 more before B&N would move to town? You see, B&N is in Bloomington, IN, which has a population of a mere 70,000. Granted, Indiana University houses more than 40,000 students and faculty. Even so...that's still smaller than Abilene. I'd say that B&N isn't very consistent in where they place a new store.

    By Blogger Jamie, at 8/25/2004 06:57:00 AM  

  • It's been a tough day for me. I am a conservative (mostly) and as such it was difficult to find someone in Abilene literate enough to write this comment for me. As far as Pappasito's is concerned, I could not agree more. When I point to something on the menu I am rarely disappointed.

    By Blogger Val, at 8/25/2004 11:18:00 AM  

  • Keep the faith, Mike.

    Just a few days ago I posted a "Plea To Corporate America" on my blog, begging the Jell-O corporation to resume the manufacturing of Pudding Pops. Lo and behold, the next day, there was a box of them in my freezer! Perhaps these open letter type things really do work.

    By the way, I am still awaiting a response to my Open Letter to the Ferrari company and the Millionaire Society.

    By Blogger Greg Kendall-Ball, at 8/25/2004 11:46:00 AM  

  • What about the ACU bookstore? (:

    By Blogger David Michael, at 8/25/2004 12:17:00 PM  

  • John Gardner said, "There is power in a dream of excellence." Keep up the writing and begging and pleading for both the book store and the restaurant.

    By Blogger judy thomas, at 8/25/2004 02:20:00 PM  

  • If we type it enough, someone at corporate headquarters might Google the name and see how desperate we are.

    Barnes & Noble Barnes & Noble Barnes & Noble Barnes & Noble Barnes & Noble Barnes & Noble Barnes & Noble Barnes & Noble Barnes & Noble Barnes & Noble Barnes & Noble Barnes & Noble Barnes & Noble Barnes & Noble Barnes & Noble

    (Have you ever noticed that if you look at something long enough, it starts to look weird?)

    Alternatively, we all tell our kids to ask Santa this year...

    By Blogger Jo, at 8/25/2004 02:50:00 PM  

  • I feel your pain, Mike. Imagine a place with no Target, no (gasp!) Wal Mart, no K-Mart, no Kohls, no Trader Joes, no practical shopping of any kind - save an expensive subsidiary of Kroger, no Borders, no B&N, no Pappasitos, no Macaroni Grill, no Cracker Barrel, no...nothing. That's Malibu, California. Sure - all these things can be found within a 20 mile radius (except the Cracker Barrel), but with LA traffic, it might as well be Fort Worth. At least you guys in Abilene have the ocean and mountains, right? :)

    By Blogger Malibu Librarian, at 8/25/2004 04:27:00 PM  

  • They do have a Barnes and Noble in Abilene...it's called BarnesandNoble.com. You see the real issue is not a good bookstore but that there is not a Starbucks within .5 miles of my house. Living in CA can spoil a guy. Who cares about the mountains, oceans, and wonderful climate? (Okay, I do) I miss seeing 5 Starbucks on the way to church.

    It's not too much to ask is it? A Starbucks within walking distance (for me that is nothing more than a 3 wood)from my house?

    You can have a book mailed within 24 hours to your door. You can't FedEx a Venti breakfast blend.

    By Blogger Joel Quile, at 8/25/2004 05:43:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Krister, at 8/25/2004 06:14:00 PM  

  • Wow. I feel for you, Mike, I really do. So dude, what is a Barnes & Noble anyway, is that like a law firm or something?

    By Blogger James, at 8/25/2004 07:47:00 PM  

  • I'm a little upset about your post, Mike. Not because of the content, I whole-heartedly agree. I am upset because you stole my idea. Just a few days ago I thought in my head, "Why not write an open letter, in the Greg/Jello nature, to Barnes and Noble on my blog, begging them to bring their books to Abilene." If I do it now, I will just look like a poser. Thanks.

    Every time I drive by the "Shops at Abilene" I ask my wife to look for the "Barnes and Nobel coming soon" sign. I would even settle for a "Books a Million coming soon" sign! I was "pleased" (read "ticked off and extremely depressed") to find out Lifeway was coming to the Shops. And Dunlaps was moving there. Come on! Who shops at Dunlaps! The store is always closed! Sure, there's a Shoe City there, but if you've been in Shoe City, perhaps you have emerged with a splitting headache as I have from the annoying people who constanly yell on the mic telling you about the "10 minute sell on aisle 7 that we will repeat in 30 minutes when a new group of naive shoe shoppers come into the store." It's repulsive. It is my contention that the reason Abilene is dying (B&N execs read "thriving and bursting with the desire to read your books") as a city is because of the cultural black hole our businesses are providing.

    And so, Mike, while I thank you for your creativity and fight for the people of Abilene, I am a bit ticked off that you took my idea. Honestly, I don't have that many creative blog ideas. I've been faking being a liberal for a while, just to get people to read and respond to my writings. I thought this B&N letter idea would give me another week of blog traffic, holding out until Fred Aquino or Jeff Childers give me something interesting to say. My dream is gone...

    By Blogger Travis, at 8/26/2004 07:06:00 AM  

  • According to their website, David Deason is their VP of Development. But, whereas many of the execs are yankees from Jersey or NY, guess what:

    Mr. Deason attended the University of Texas at Dallas. He serves as a board member of Creative Learning 4 Kids, a nonprofit educational charity which provides tutorial services and mentoring for children.

    David Deason resides in Dallas, Texas with his wife and three daughters.
    Ah-ha ! Why aren't the Recruiters at ACU honing in on this family!! Maybe if Daddy took at trip down I-20 and came to Abilene to visit during Welcome Week there would be a chance to land a store. Just trying to ease the pain.

    By Blogger Donny, at 8/26/2004 12:59:00 PM  

  • Yankees? I haven't heard that since (the short time) I lived in the south.

    It does seem odd that Abilene does not have a Barnes & Noble. There is a small town (Ontario) near us here in North Central Ohio that has one. Ontario has a population of 5,000+. Neighboring Mansfield has a population of 49,000+. It is only about 15 minutes away, so we go as often as we can. Also, there is a Chipotle Restaurant nearby, which is added incentive to go.

    Mike, if you don't know about Chipotle, they make their guacamole fresh every shift!


    By Blogger Jeff Slater, at 8/26/2004 04:00:00 PM  

  • Since I'm always looking for good book recommendations, your mention of William Willimon jumped out at me. I did a quick web search and see that he has been very prolific in his writings, many of which seem to be written to those in ministry positions. Would you recommend his writings for someone who is not a minister/preacher/pastor in the traditional sense of the word? And, if so, where would be a good place to start?

    By Blogger reJoyce, at 8/27/2004 04:50:00 AM  

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