As we approach the last month of summer, we have yet another fantastic retailer to present. Give it up for our August Store of the Month, Givens Books & Little Dickens. Our sales rep Julien nominated this store for their originality and their amazing decorations. George and Silvia Givens started Givens Books after renovated a 1930s Gas Station in 1976 and joined with Little Dickens in 1999. Forty years and three moves later, they have graduated to a 16,000 square foot property on four acres of land. Now they have giant pterodactyl dinosaurs and the fabled Jack climbing down the beanstalk in their store and a waterfall and 30 ft train in the yard. One of the store owners, Danny Givens, says, “Its the largest store of its kind in the Southeast with 7,000 square feet of books, 3,500 square feet of toys and 3,500 of teacher supplies along with an indoor cafe and a real working fireplace to read by in the winter time.” What a sweet space!
I had the pleasure of speaking to Danny about his role in running Givens Books & Little Dickens. His favorite part about managing the store is the people. “I love meeting happy people and trying to make other people’s lives happier and richer with play and learning. I love seeing the look of wonder on people’s faces, especially new customers, when they walk in to see the store for the first time. I love having great employees who are smart and competent!” Of course, Danny also admits it’s nice being his own boss. It upsets Danny to know that there are still people out there who don’t have access to games or basic learning supplies and can’t reach their full potential because they don’t have the resources.
In early July, Danny took five Blue Orange games with him to a school in Haiti for ten days. The games were a huge hit because of their language neutrality, quick-to-learn rules, fast playtime, and high learning value. He loved seeing how the kids were learned by having fun and playing games rather than through a disciplined lesson. He was struck by the extreme patience and the nature of generosity in the Haitian culture. One famous proverb he remembered was “Cooked food has no owner.” Such lessons can help many retailers realize the true gift they have in sharing games or the value of patience in stressful store crises.
The best advice that Danny can give to future store owners is to expect to spend a lot more hours and a lot more money than suspected. It takes great effort to push a business in the right direction and get it rolling down the right path. Danny remembers being a perfectionist himself when he started running the store.
When it comes to Blue Orange, Danny is thrilled to work with Julien. Ever since day one, Julien was enthusiastic and clear as he demonstrated the games to Danny’s staff so they could show them off in the store. Danny especially loves Gobblet Gobblers, but lately he’s taken a new interest in Top That! and our ASTRA award winner Dr. Eureka. He predicts that those two will sell well in the coming year.
We are so happy to see what Givens Books & Little Dickens has done with our games. We are proud to award them August Store of the Month, and we hope that they continue to teach children and put smiles on others as their business prospers. Congratulations! Check out the Givens Books & Little Dickens site or visit them at 2236 Lakeside Dr in Lynchburg, Virginia.