Pablo Sierra opened Walls of Books, a used bookstore in Washington, DC’s Park View neighborhood, early this year and already, it’s a local hit.
“There was a problem here and that problem needed to be solved,” says Pablo, who also manages the store. “Pent up demand has always been there: a bookstore that has books that are good quality that are not $30.”
But from day one, Pablo’s vision for a local bookstore also included supporting the surrounding area, so he and his team set out to make sure Walls of Books attracted locals and visitors of all ages.
“We do a lot of programs,” he says, “a creative writing group every Thursday, story time for kids on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We have a book club that meets every month. The books are typically about the neighborhood or urban development or gentrification.”
Within a few months of opening, Pablo also started talking to the local home sharing community and quickly had an Airbnb sticker in his front window that reads: “Community loved local business.”
Pablo says it was a no-brainer.
“We provide affordable books and programs, and events, that are focused on the community and if people are using Airbnb for that local touch… that’s a tremendous opportunity,” he explains. “I know if I was some place and staying with Airbnb and had a list of events in the local community, I would go and see what’s there.”
Today, Pablo and his staff experience exactly that, with guests frequently stopping in after exploring the neighborhood or hearing about a great small business from their hosts.
“Any marketing that’s free or word of mouth is good for my business and other businesses as well.”