Frugal Bookworm

The Frugal Bookworm, a bookstore at 5932 S. Lewis Ave., is evolving due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World

The Frugal Bookworm, for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic, is transitioning to an online bookstore.

“With the world changing the way it is and more and more people feeling like maybe it’s not the right time to come out and risk their health, we are trying to make the smartest decisions for our customers, as well as ourselves,” co-owner Ash McCumber said.

“We really had to kind of sit down and restrategize how we think about books and business. ... And a vast majority of our customers are older. My business partner and myself are both immunocompromised. So while this is a tough decision for us to make financially, it also makes the best sense for us when it comes to our health.”

McCumber said a phone service will be offered for older customers.

“Once we get set up online, we are going to continue our outreach and our donation programs as long as we can. We have looked into the possibility of crowdfunding in the future, but we really want to kind of give it a go online and see how things go over the next six months before we make any risks with anybody’s health.”

The store, 5932 S. Lewis Ave., will remain open to the public until May 23 by appointment only or for curbside pickup. Until the online store is launched, customers can contact the store through Facebook, phone or email. She said the owners hope to have a full website with an online shop by July 1.

“That gives us time to get moved and organized and get it all set up so when it launches we are ready to go,” she said.

The store has been in existence since 2007, and it has been under current ownership for three years.

In a Facebook post to update customers about the changes, the store’s owners said they went into this year looking for a new and possibly bigger space for the store. Said the post: “We had saved up money and were looking to move to a location that would better serve the role we wanted to play in the growing literacy community in Tulsa — a place that would engender growth and a jumping off points for local authors, artists, and community-based programming.”

Continuing, the post said, “Unfortunately, we never know what the future holds.”

Because the pandemic arrived, the bookstore became one of many businesses that is finding ways to evolve.

“I think that the vast majority of people are really adaptable, and we are always looking for ways to help each other and to keep things that we love going and I have really seen a lot of that in Tulsa lately,” McCumber said.

“The community here is so big and so loving towards small businesses. We have had such an incredible experience being small business owners, and it’s one of the reasons we started the outreach programs we have had so we could give back in a way that we were given to.”

McCumber said they will continue to do everything they can to support businesses they love while also serving customers who support their store. That means making sure fairly inexpensive literature is available for people who need it.

The move to an online store means the owners will have to tackle the task of listing all inventory online.

“It’s going to be a huge feat,” McCumber said. “We are not so ambitious as to start with everything online. We are going to kind of handpick the most popular stuff and the most popular topics and start there, and that’s one of the reasons we are offering a phone service and an email service. If you are looking for something, you can contact us and, if it’s not listed, we can find it and get it to you.”


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Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389

jimmie.tramel@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @JimmieTramel

Scene Writer

Jimmie is a pop culture and feature writer at the Tulsa World. A former Oklahoma sports writer of the year, he has written books about former Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer and former Oklahoma State football coach Pat Jones. Phone: 918-581-8389