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Exploring Life & Business with Candice Anderson of Tombolo Books

Today we’d like to introduce you to Candice Anderson.

Hi Candice, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Tombolo Books co-owners Alsace Walentine & Candice Anderson moved to St. Petersburg, FL in 2015, attracted to the city’s arts community and shop local ethos. Founder Alsace Walentine was the longtime events director of Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC. They started laying the groundwork for opening a well-curated independent bookstore operating as a pop-up in the Tampa Bay region for several years before finding its brick-and-mortar location in St. Pete’s Grand Central District. Our brick-and-mortar store officially opened on December 14, 2019 after a successful crowdfunding campaign. Three months after opening our doors, the pandemic hit and we had to close our sales floor, but we were able to continue to serve our customers by offering a full webstore, downtown delivery, touch-free curbside pickup, and by late summer of 2020 we re-opened our sales floor with limited capacity by reservation. We are weathering the pandemic as well as a young small business could hope to by the support of our loyal, locally-minded Tampa Bay community.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Closing our sales floor to protect against the pandemic only three months after opening was an unexpected setback. By contrast, every other hurdle we’ve had to overcome seems minor in retrospect. We’ve mostly encountered great enthusiasm and hunger for indie bookstores in this community.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Tombolo Books is a uniquely curated bookstore – we order books five days a week in response to the interests and tastes of our customers and community. We believe we can build community and strengthen the city by reflecting social and cultural diversity, and encouraging the free exchange of ideas. We feature all genres, from biography/memoir and science, to gardening, cooking, poetry, and fiction. The store also offers an expansive children’s section with a cozy reading nook for parents and children to enjoy during their visit. Naturally, we also take special interest in both fiction and non-fiction by Florida authors and about the state of Florida. Pre-pandemic we were establishing our events program – Alsace’s background in author events planning gives us inroads into bringing some excellent authors to the store. We look forward to getting those scheduled again when travel is safe.

So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
We love partnering with local organizations. We have worked with local businesses, schools, libraries and festivals on everything from book fairs, to book clubs, to providing sales support for speaking engagements.

Contact Info:

  • Email: frontdesk@tombolobooks.com
  • Website: tombolobooks.com
  • Instagram: @tombolobooks
  • Facebook: @tombolobooks
  • Twitter: @tombolobooks


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