Walter Pahucki: How He Started Montgomery Book Exchange And What He Learned In The Process
By Winston Ash, CEO of Ash Media Empire. We help you grow your business online.
I recently spoke to Walter Pahucki, who is the Owner of Montgomery Book Exchange, a local independent bookstore in Montgomery, NY. Montgomery Book Exchange opened its doors on March 14th, 2015 and is a hometown used book store on Union Street in Montgomery.
In this interview, Walter talks about the backstory behind Montgomery Book Exchange, his mission & the customers he serves, how he’s able to market the company, and the advice he wish he knew when he started.
Most people know you from Montgomery Book Exchange, but not about what you did before you started the company. What was your background and how did you end up starting the company?
I got the idea for my business because I was retiring from the Army National Guard and still working a job that paid well but was not rewarding. My wife and I were away for the weekend in Niantic, Connecticut and stumbled upon the most amazing book store we’d ever seen — The Book Barn. I knew then and there that I would open a book store. I had always loved books, literature, and reading; always seeking out bookstores in our travels.
What was your mission at the outset?
My mission at the outset of creating the business was not just to open a building where you walk in and buy books, but to create an experience. I knew I would have comfy chairs to sit and relax, free coffee for customers and would provide friendly, customer service. Living in the historic Village of Montgomery in NY, I knew I wanted to open in one of the beautiful, historic buildings in our community.
Who are your customers?
Our customers range from our neighbors in the Village of Montgomery to people visiting the area from New York City to online customers around the world. I love when a kid walks in with $2 of their allowance just as much as when a senior citizen pulls out a set amount in an envelope from their monthly budget.
What is your current marketing process?
Initially, we set up accounts for everything! (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+, Pinterest, Etsy, Yelp) Now we are active on Facebook only and use AWeber for email list management. My plan is to implement HootSuite to get more active on some of these other platforms. We’ll eventually have a local author podcast, YouTube Channel and video tour of the store.
What are the issues and questions regarding digital marketing that are on your agenda currently?
I plan on using Twitter and Instagram more and would like to utilize a tool such as HootSuite or Edgar. Additionally, I don’t advertise in newspapers due to the cost but I think it would be worth it to boost posts or pay for ads on Facebook. I don’t want that to effect our “organic” traffic, though. Also, I need to research why some posts show only 9 people reached and others show 229.
If you could travel back to day one of your startup and have 15 minutes with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and heartache, what would you tell yourself?
I would tell my former self to stay disciplined and stick to my daily, weekly, and monthly reviews. I have many ideas to develop and grow my business. I should have hired someone sooner to “work the business” so I could “work on the business” more.