In today’s world, small business owners have to get creative sometimes. And this is especially true for those who run a business that’s quickly being overtaken by online giants like Amazon. Ellen Helmke has been a fan of the feline kind for quite some time. In addition to being a business owner, she also helps to foster cats and kittens through her local SPCA. With some purrfect ingenuity, Ellen came up with a clever tactic to draw more people into her bookstore. Her idea? Why not feature adoptable kittens for patrons to mingle with!
If you happen to find yourself in Upper Tantallon, Nova Scotia, then you must visit Otis & Clementine’s Books and Coffee. There you will find a relaxed atmosphere, loads of great reads, and adoptable kittens roaming all around.
So, how did Ellen’s clever marketing tactic pan out? Well, people love it! Kids stop by after school, and some people even swing by on their lunch break for a chance to mingle with the adorable kittens.
“The used book business is a pretty tough business on a good day. So I’m thrilled that people like it, and people are coming to the store,” she told CBC Canada News.
This win-win situation is not only great for the business, but it’s an ideal way to socialize these kittens on their journey to finding their forever homes.
“I thought it would be a fun thing to do and I thought people would enjoy it, but it’s turned out to be so popular,” Ellen said. “They jump on piles of books, they hang out on the albums, they sit on people’s laps, curl up on their shoulder. They run the place.”
The story behind Otis & Clementine’s Books and Coffee, according to their Facebook page:
After spending half her life in Chicago and half in Nova Scotia, Ellen founded Otis books in 2011. Many people are saying that it’s the best used bookstore they’ve ever visited.
In 2014, she actually started using her BA in Spanish Literature from the University of Colorado (which she never thought she’d use again after coming to Nova Scotia in 1998). Ellen partners with Dulce Dardon, MSc. of Cuernavaca MX, to develop a series of beginner Spanish lessons at the bookstore several nights a week.
Now that Ellen’s daughter is in high school, she helps deliver children’s programs such as writing club, kids book club, girls book club, and teen book club.
We do open mic nights on the third Saturday of the month 5-8. Ellen plans to launch a structured writing program soon… stay tuned.
I personally think that this is an absolutely wonderful idea and I commend Ellen for helping these kitties in need. All that good karma she’s getting is rightfully deserved. Sometimes in life, a little creativity goes a long way!
Can’t get enough of these cute kittens? Follow the bookstore on Facebook to brighten your day with itty bitty kitty photos on a regular basis.
All Images Courtesy of Otis & Clementine’s Books and Coffee