Busy Life Got You Down?

Get Organized!

With the new school year starting up it can be hard to keep track of all the comings and goings of an active family. With sporting events, holidays, school functions, and everything else (don’t forget birthdays, doctor appointments, and your own social life) you can probably use a little help keeping everything together and happening on schedule.

If this sounds like your life, we have the perfect tool for you. Right now we have in stock two different planners specifically designed to keep a family organized.

Amy Knapp’s Family Organizer and Mom’s Plan-It Engagement Planner both go from August 2014 through December 2015, so you can start using them now and not need a new planner until 2016. They both feature weekly calendar pages with plenty of room to write appointment details, and every page has space along the edges for such things as meal-planning and to-do lists. As a bonus this lists are perforated so you can easily take them with you everywhere you need tBoth calendars includes lots of Event Stickers.o them to go. Both planners also have the usual pages for addresses and contact info and other important data, like birth dates and anniversaries, plus lots of calendar stickers to make it easy to mark routine activities with eye-catching color.
Amy Knapp’s Family Organizer claims to be the #1 National Bestselling Organizer and has additional pages for recording information specific to running an organized family, such as everything a babysitter needs to know, details of all the organizations and teams your children are involved with (including weekly schedulesAmy Knapp's Family Organizer and carpool duties), and usernames and passwords for important websites. For a final touch, each week includes an inspirational quote.
Mom’s Plan-It Engagement Planner opens to a large pocket inside the front cover you can use to keep receipts or other necessary scraps of paper. There’s also several pages available for note-taking as well as some space for notes on each weekly page. Moms Plan-it Engagement PlannerAt the back is a 2016 calendar so you can easily plan ahead even past the end of the weekly pages. Finally, each weekly page includes helpful strategies and tips to help you keep organized in ways that even the best planner can’t.
Either one of these planners should make running a family a little easier, and most of the differences come down to personal preference and style, so if you need some help keep track of your busy life and the busy lives of your family, come check them out.

First Saturday Story Hour Returns!

It’s almost October, and that means another First Saturday, and that means another First Saturday Story Hour!

Each and every month, on the first Saturday Encore Books will be hosting a story hour for children ages 6 and up. Stacy Huntamer, a member of our staff (as well as a middle school teacher) reads a book and then presents a related craft project for the kids to do. And to keep their energy levels up, we’ll have a lite snack for them, as well.

Mark your calendar… the First Saturday of every month… and bring your kids for some fun that will help build a lifetime appreciation for reading and books.

Extended Hours Survey

Our current hours seem to work well for most of our customers… but what if there are people are can’t get in to buy books before we close? Who knows what they might be reading! We want everyone to be able to get quality used books for half the cover price, so here’s a short little survey about the possibility of Encore Books extending business hours.

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Support Your Local ________ Store: 5 ways you can help a small business succeed (without spending any money)

We get a lot of questions from our customers such as “How’s business?” and “Have e-books hurt you?” and then they say something like, “I really love your store and I hope you don’t ever close.”

We don’t want to close either, and while it’s always nice to get that kind of encouragement from our loyal customers, hoping alone isn’t going to keep anyone in business.

During the month of July every year, we take part in the Find Waldo in Yakima game that promotes shopping local. My earlier post about that included some of the many reasons why you should want to support local businesses. In this post, let’s look at some simple things you can do, without spending any money, to help support your favorite local businesses.

  1. Word-of-Mouth
    This one is the most simple, and most effective, things you can do: Tell your friends and family… even total strangers… about your favorite places. Tell them every time you go there, and tell them what you bought, what you didn’t buy, and how enjoyable it was. Tell them the bad stuff, too… if there is any… because you shouldn’t lie to your friends, but tell them. Chances are you know people who have not even heard about that great little place where you love to shop.
  2. Like, Comment and Share on Social Media
    The whole point of social media, for businesses anyway, is that word-of-mouth thing we were just talking about. Posts, pictures and tweets from a business are meant to shared among your friends to help spread the word that a) the business exists and b) you should go there. Every time you Like, Comment, or Share something we’ve put online it goes out from the circle of friends we already have to your friends, along with your implied seal-of-approval, and that’s huge for a small business.
  3. Like Comment and Share Newsletter Articles
    Similar to Social Media, the content in a newsletter is the perfect opportunity for you to share with your friends whatever might be of interest to them at your favorite store. Most e-mail newsletters these days will even make it easy for you, so with just a few clicks you can tell your friends about that really awesome sale they should know about.
  4. Like Comment and Share Blog Posts
    Again, the simple act of sharing content is helpful, but in the case of a blog post (like this one) people who follow the link are brought to the homepage of the business and so have an added opportunity to look around and learn about a business they might want to try.
    Additionally, a comment on a blog post (and newsletters) will often be linked to social media, but more importantly it can start a useful discussion among customers and the business that can lead to improvements for both.
  5. Online Reviews
    This can be rather controversial among some people, and you may have heard reports of paid reviewers, or sites like yelp.com that some businesses claim restrict positive reviews unless you pay for advertising.
    None the less, a solid positive review from a real customer can be worth a lot to a small business, and a collection of such reviews can be priceless.
    Other sites where you can leave online reviews:
    • Foursquare – Load the app on your smart phone and take it with you, or write reviews on the web.
    • Google+ – If you use Google’s search engine very often, you’ve probably seen these reviews pop up.
    • Angie’s List – Primarily for services (rather than retail), only paid members can leave reviews, which they claim increases the quality of the reviews they get.
    • Citysearch – A sort of Yellow pages style listing that allows users to leave reviews.

BONUS: Spend money
Of course the best way to support your favorite local businesses is to go there and spend money, but they are certain to appreciate everything you do on their behalf to help spread the word about their products and services.

Dog Days

These hot days we’re having are known as the Dog Days of summer, so-called because the Dog Star (aka Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major) rises and sets with the sun.

I only mention this because it reminds me of the other connection between heat and dogs: it’s deadly to leave a dog (or any animal) in a hot car in this heat. Please, if you are out and about with your dog when its this hot, do not leave them in a car, and make sure they get enough water.

Many stores have no problem having your dog visit their business. If you aren’t sure, just ask for permission, and be ready to keep them on a leash if they aren’t well-behaved. At Encore Books, we’re more than happy to meet your pets and most of them are happy to meet us. In any case we’d much rather they came inside where they can keep cool than suffer in a stifling hot car.

If you must have your dog with you, but can’t take them inside for some reason, it’s better to find a shady spot where you can tie them up than to leave them in the car. On an 80 degree day, the inside of a car can get to over 100 in ten minutes!

For more tips on taking care of your animal this summer, visit the Humane Society’s website.