How one LA bookstore proprietor is reinventing her enterprise

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Celene Navarrete first met her business partner Chiara Arroyo at a book fair for her children’s school.

“Chiara is from Spain and I am from Mexico. Our children are attending a bilingual program here in Los Angeles,” said Navarrete.

Both expected to find many Spanish books at the book fair.

“But that was not the case. And it was very disappointing for us, ”she recalls. “So we decided to take action.”

It was then that LA Librería was born, a Los Angeles bookstore that specializes in imported children’s books from Spanish-speaking countries around the world. Navarrete and Arroyo travel to Latin American countries and Spain to find authentic Spanish-language children’s books. They carefully select books that resonate with children and young adults in the United States and bring them back to fill their shelves.

“LA Librería is more than a bookstore,” said Navarrete. “It is a cultural center where people interact with other families who are raising bilingual children.”

Before the pandemic, they held events in the store and took some of their books to book fairs in different schools. But that has changed. Their business has been closed since March and they have not been able to attend in-person book fairs.

“We need to reinvent the way we work with our community and our customers,” said Navarrete. “The people who come to this store are looking for a personal experience, just like the people who buy a book from us at book fairs. So that was very, very challenging. “

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What’s the latest on more pandemic aid from the federal government?

President Donald Trump first tweeted that he was breaking negotiations on funding major pandemic supplies until after the election. Then, later that day, he called for piecemeal incentives, including $ 1,200 pandemic checks for families, to be signed by the president and to arrive before election day. So here is a whiplash. Karen Petrou, managing partner of Washington-based business consultancy Federal Financial Analytics, said, “The president is always negotiating. I mean, he’s just trying to make a deal. That’s the only way I can explain it. “

Are people still waiting for unemployment benefits?

Yes. According to Andrew Stettner of the Century Foundation, there is no way of knowing exactly how many people have been waiting for months and still not getting unemployed because states don’t have a good system for keeping track of this type of data. According to our own calculations, only about 60% of people who have applied for benefits currently receive them. That means there are still millions waiting. Read more about what they’re doing about it here.

What will happen to the retailers, especially as the holiday shopping season approaches?

According to a report by the accounting consultancy BDO USA on Tuesday, 29 large retailers had filed for bankruptcy protection by August. And if bankruptcies continue at this rate, the number could keep up with the 2010 bankruptcies after the great recession. For retailers, the last three months of this year will be even more important than usual to their survival as they look for hope during the holidays.

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