Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sponsor Letter, October 3rd 2017

Dear Sponsors,

Advisory Group

One of the things I appreciate about you all is how willing you've been to give me advice.  I appreciate even more how good, cogent and considered that advice has been.  But, there are times when questions come up suddenly and need to be answered before the next Sponsor Note is scheduled.  Also, sometimes major questions come up that I need to have face-to-face discussions about (like last year when I was talking with small groups of sponsors about how to fund a building purchase).  So, I've decided to create an advisory group composed of sponsors.  There aren't any required qualifications aside from the willingness to reply to email promptly and come to monthly meetings in San Francisco. The members of the board will be asked to advise on a wide range of matters regarding the operation of the store and the sponsorship program.  Members may also be asked to volunteer to work on specific projects.  If you're interested in serving, please drop me an email and we'll go from there.

Building News

First off, thank you to everyone who wrote with their thoughts and advice about moving to Haight Street.  There were a couple of consistent comments that I received.  Many people felt that moving so much farther away from BART would be a problem.  I agree with that 100% but, proximity to BART is desirable enough that it affects building prices.  I don't want to move out of the Mission District but, we may not have a choice if we're going to purchase a building.  And I do think we need to buy a building if possible, for all the reasons I've discussed in the past.  On the bright side, a number of very public-transit-savvy sponsors pointed out that there are a number of pretty simple and direct bus options to get from BART to upper Haight.  Granted, the buses in San Francisco kind of suck but that's better than nothing.  My final conclusion is that the lack of BART access might be a deal breaker, but that's something I'm going to determine if and when it looks like we might be able to work a deal on a building.  The flip side of those comments is that there were also a number of folks who wrote me saying that upper Haight is much closer to them and that it would make it much easier to visit the shop.

Another comment was that the street situation on upper Haight is less than stellar.  The young street kids that panhandle in the area can be somewhat aggressive and there's a minority of them that are real trouble-makers.  I agree with that assessment completely but, I think that the actual threat is probably lower there than it is on Valencia St.  It is certainly lower there than it is on Mission Street.  On upper Haight the problem is mostly ne'er-do-well homeless kids.  In the Mission the problem is gang members, drug dealers, and armed robbers -- all folks who are much more low-profile than street kids and also profoundly more dangerous.  But, the comfort of our customers is something that needs to be considered and it's not fun to be aggressively panhandled.  So, I don't think that consideration is a deal-breaker but it certainly is a downside.

On the positive side of the equation, the neighborhood is more diverse from a shopping standpoint than the Mission. There are two other bookstores there, three music stores, great used clothing stores, and so on.  From a retail standpoint, it's the way Valencia Street was ten years ago. It is also more centrally located within the city.  And, of course, there the final advantage - it's a building of the right sort that we might be able to afford.

Overall, the response from you was slightly in favor of the location and so I'm going to keep pursuing it.  The building is supposed to hit the market on Monday so I should have some news about it in the next sponsor note.

Note:  As usual, to RSVP for any event, just reply to this email and we'll take care of the rest.

Jingle version:

Note:  Based on a suggestion at the General Meeting in March, we started a monthly game night at the cafe.  After a strong start, attendance has been dropping steadily and so we're going to stop doing it on a monthly basis.  Next year we'll certainly have at least one game night and we might consider doing it quarterly.

(1) Wednesday, October 11th at 5:00pm - Free tickets to The Internet Archive's anniversary party.

(2) Sunday, October 22nd at 2:00pm - Sponsor Picnic at Golden Gate Park. A (hopefully) sunny day in the park with grill and friends.

(3) Tuesday, October 24th at 7:00 pm - Cocktail night at Churchill.  Time to enjoy the company of fellow sponsors at a great little bar on Church and Market called Churchill (198 Church Street at Market).

(4) Saturday, November 4th at 3:00 pm - Sponsor's Scotch Tasting at the World Fantasy Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

(5) Saturday, November 4th at 9:00 pm - World Fantasy Convention party for Borderlands 20th Anniversary in San Antonio, Texas.

(6) Saturday, November 18th - Borderlands Books' 20th Anniversary Party!

(7) December, date TBA - Trip to Dickens Fair.

Magnum Opus version:

(1) Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 5:00-9:30pm - Free tickets to The Internet Archive's anniversary party at The Internet Archive, 300 Funston Ave. San Francisco.  From our friends at the Internet Archive comes this invitation which includes free admission for the first 100 sponsors to sign up using the special code VIPBORDERLANDS.  Direct link here: https://internetarchive20ctimemachine.eventbrite.com?discount=VIPBorderlands.

From their website, "We invite you to enter our 20th Century Time Machine to experience the audio, books, films, web sites, ephemera and software fast disappearing from our midst. We’ll be connecting the centuries -- transporting 20th century treasures to curious minds in the 21st.  Come explore the possibilities at our Annual Bash on Wednesday, October 11, 2017, from 5-9:30 pm.  We’ll kick off the evening with cocktails, food trucks and hands-on demos of our coolest collections.  Come scan a book, play in a virtual reality arcade, or spin a 78 rpm recording.  When you arrive, be sure to get your library card.  If you "check out" all the stations on your card, we'll reward you with a special Internet Archive gift.  Starting at 7 p.m., we'll unveil the latest media the Internet Archive has to offer, presented by the artists, writers, and scientists who lose themselves in our collections every day.  And to keep you dancing into the evening, DJ Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus, will be spinning records from 8-9:30.  Come join our celebration!"

(2) Sunday, October 22nd at 2:00pm - Sponsor Picnic at Golden Gate Park
We are once again braving the outside world for a potluck cookout celebrating "Summer" in San Francisco.  We're taking our October Sponsor event to Golden Gate Park, on Sunday, October 22nd at 2pm.  We have high hopes that we won't be shivering and shrouded in fog.  We've reserved table #1 in Lindley Meadow.  Directions are at the link below, but the short version is that Lindley Meadow is on the south side of JFK Drive, across from the 30th Avenue and Fulton Street entrance in Golden Gate Park.  (At 30th Avenue and JFK, there is a sign for Lindley Meadow.) http://sfrecpark.org/destination/golden-gate-park/ggp-lindley-meadow-picnic-area/ .  Please note that several streets are closed in the park on Sundays and parking is often challenging.

Bring something to put on the grill or something to share as a side; bring your picnic blanket and a frisbee, and probably a jacket for possibly unpredictable summer weather.  Wine and beer are fine to bring but, please, no liquor and no glass, per the Park's request.  Friends and guests (including children) are super welcome so please do bring 'em along.  If you're planning on coming, please let us know at sponsors@borderlands-books.com.

(3) Tuesday, October 24, 2017 starting at 7:00pm - Cocktail night at Churchill.
Sponsor Cocktail night continues at Churchill (198 Church Street at Market) <http://www.churchillsf.com/>; some combination of us will be there from at least 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm.  No need to RSVP and any number of guests and friends are welcome.  The bar is INCREDIBLY convenient to public transit -- the MUNI Metro Underground (via F, K, L, and M lines at Church Street,) and J and N lines stop less than a block away.

(4) Saturday, November 4th at 3:00 pm - Sponsor's Scotch Tasting at the World Fantasy Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
As usual, we'll be hosting a Scotch tasting for our sponsors and their guests at the World Fantasy Convention this year. We don't have the room number yet but, if you'll drop me an email and let me know that you'd like to attend, I'll make sure to get you that information as soon as I have it. You can just reply to this note and tell me that you'll be coming. You're welcome to bring a guest or two if you like.

(5) Saturday, November 4th at 9:00 pm - World Fantasy Convention party for Borderlands 20th Anniversary in San Antonio, Texas.
In addition to our private party in the afternoon, we'll be having a public one Saturday evening at the convention to celebrate our 20th anniversary.  I think it'll be a lot of fun (our convention parties usually are) and I hope that, if you're going to be at the con, you'll make time to attend.

(6) Saturday, November 18th - Borderlands Books 20th Anniversary Party!
As I mentioned at the beginning of this note, it's thanks to all of you that we get to celebrate 20 years in business. We're still nailing down all the details for the party but we've decided on a couple of things.  There will be a regular-customers only pre-party and sale starting at 10 am.  You'll need a password to get in (which I'll be sending out in the November note and in the newsletter) and we'll have Mimosas, snacks, some special deals, a store-wide 10% off sale, and we'll unveil our commemorative 20th Anniversary hoodie.  At noon we'll open to the general public and we've got some fun stuff planned for that part of the day including many, many authors signing their work (the full list is to come and it's going to be a long, long one) and, probably, some live music.  Then at six we'll close up to get ready for the Sponsor Social, which will start at 7 pm as usual.  I'm still planning the details of that part but there'll be some killer food for sure and some special cocktails.  And, if that's not enough for you, at 11 pm when that party stops, the after-party will move across the street to the Phoenix Pub where we'll close the place.  As I said last month -- this is going to be epic.

(7) December, date TBA - Trip to Dickens Fair.
We're putting together a group trip to Dicken's Fair <https://dickensfair.com>.  Scott and I are still working out the details but the trip will be sometime in the first half of December and we'll have some sort of discounted tickets (that detail is still being worked out -- and thank you to all our sponsors who are affiliated with the Fair for all the possible hook-ups for those tickets).  Look for more details in the next sponsor note.

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