Bookstore owner finding new ways to do business.

Having a worldwide health crisis hit less than two months after opening a shop isn't an ideal scenario, but Odd Bird Books owner Ben Adams is finding there have been a few positives to the tweaks he's had to make to his fledgling business model.

Online orders have increased, Adams said, and he's begun delivering books, which he hadn't planned to do before the new coronavirus interrupted daily life around the globe but has discovered to be a good revenue generator.

"Foot traffic's down a lot, but there have been some other increases," Adams said. "Right now, it's kind of a mixed bag for me. It's not all bad, though."

Adams opened Odd Bird Books in downtown Columbia's Arcade Mall in February. When interviewed last week, Adams said the Arcade doors on Main Street remained open and folks were still coming through them, though not as many as before.

"We don't have a lot of foot traffic on any given day anyway," Adams said. " On a slow Monday before the virus, we saw maybe 10 customers. Now we see three to five."

Today, Adams said those main doors had been locked, but he was manning his shop from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. for pickups and delivery. This weekend, Odd Bird Books placed a cart outside the Arcade offering free books to passersby.

"Pickups, delivery and online orders have increased by a lot," he said. "So far, it's increased more than the foot traffic has decreased. I anticipate that stuff will kind of trail off, too, because it's kind of novel right now. People who want to avail themselves of it are going to do it sooner than later, so I expect that we're going to have some really, really quiet weeks coming up. But I realize we're in a better position to absorb that than a lot of other businesses.

" It's not devastating to our model to work that way, with preorders and an individual, one-customer-at-a-time basis, the way it would be with restaurants and all these other business that regularly need people to come in."

If Adams is no longer able to open the doors to his...

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