People are turning to books, movies and activities to see them through days spent inside, and local bookshop Beyond Q is providing comfort for the soul with their book-filled care packages.
As more and more people self-isolate and practise social distancing, the need for comfort and entertainment is paramount.
“We’ve limited our number of trading hours to only four hours a day between 10am and 2pm, but we’ve introduced a couple of new ideas,” says Simon Maddox, who owns Beyond Q with partner, Jenni Lawton.
“The staff … all came together with the idea of doing care packages, which is where we get people to give us a budget and tell us what genre they’re interested in and then we surprise them with a few different bits and pieces.
“And so far they’ve had a really good reception. People are really happy with what they’re getting.”
The care packages come with thoughtful touches, too; if yours includes a sad movie, expect a box of tissues!
Beyond Q Store manager Peter Butz says the packages are great for people’s wellbeing: “I feel in all honesty that books are an essential service”.
“And since people are going to be home for the foreseeable, varying up the entertainment and experiencing new things and books and movies is pretty essential for mental wellbeing,” he says.
The store’s café is now running takeaway only, much like the rest of Canberra, with the bookstore adopting a larger online presence.
Simon says the community has been rallying around the bookshop team, too. He has been astounded by the goodwill of his regular customers and the wider community, with a number of shoppers opting to pay full price for their books despite a 40% off sale.
“It’s really encouraging, and we’ve even had one or two clients, regulars, come in and just give us an envelope full of cash to help us continue. That’s the sort of community spirit that this place has managed to engender.”
He says he’s looking forward to bringing back Beyond Q’s live music performances, as well as classic film nights, once everything returns to normal.
“We’re pretty optimistic about the future.”