Flint, MI — Totem Books, Flint’s solitary bookstore, reopened its doors to the public as of Tuesday, July 7.

Dean Yeotis, the owner, expressed his joys and concerns about being back, saying “I feel really good about being back open. We missed our customers. We missed being able to communicate with people who have interesting ideas that are community oriented at the same time.”

He added that while he has concerns for both employees and customers given the current climate, they are trying their best to emphasize safety and best practices when it comes to dealing with COVID-19.

Beyond having employees wear masks, all employees are required to fill out a list of questions regarding symptoms, whether they’ve traveled to any hot spots, and to complete a temperature check. Areas where employees are likely to frequent are cleaned routinely. In addition, deep cleaning has and is being done, and they are very mindful of ensuring good air quality by changing out filters, Yeotis said.

As for upcoming events, Yeotis said they are planning on hosting a three-day book sale on Friday, July 17. All books on Friday will be $2, and $1 the following Saturday and Sunday. In order to facilitate a safe environment, they plan to set up tents outside.

“We have more inventory than we need, hence this type of sale. It’s good for us, it’s a win/win when we can sell books at a low rate,” said Yeotis.

Yeotis said he’s excited he is to roll out new books, particularly in the metaphysical section, which he said continues to gain a lot of attention from buyers. He also said a decent amount of science and psychology books that have come in.

“We have our best collection of books we’ve ever had. I think the store is looking better than ever inside and out, and our online presence has really built up over the three months,” said Yeotis.

Despite consistent roadblocks and challenges, among them being opening in the midst of a water crisis, surviving a mandatory three-month shutdown due to a global pandemic, and existing in what Yeotis dubbed a “dying industry,” Totem has found a way to overcome the odds and continue to garner support from the surrounding community.

“We were well-received on our opening day and there was a good turnout. This isn’t the best weather, but people are coming out and supporting us, so yeah, we’re pleased,” said Yoetis.

Totem Books is open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday 10 p.m. to 6 p.m. Their cafe is also open, and you can find even more inventory on their website.

Ramona Watson is a 23-year-old Flint native with a love for art, culture, and the written word, as well as a keen interest in learning more about Flint not only as a city but as a community. Ramona graduated...