How Serendipity Stayed Afloat Throughout the Pandemic

Unfortunately, many of our local stores had to shut down or run out of business due to the pandemic. Serendipity Books is not one of them. Founded in 1989, this small bookstore is located on W Middle St, across the street from Chelsea Burger.

“During COVID-19 I had to do lots of pivoting,” owner Michelle Tuplin said. “And I had huge community support.”

To stay afloat in the unpredictable environment, the store “did things like curbside pickup where people could send emails and order things online through Facebook.”

Serendipity offers books of all genres and caters to the interests of the community. Because it is an independent store, Tuplin can curate a collection that reflects Chelsea’s interests as a community.

As an example, since a lot of people here are interested in mushroom foraging around this time of year, Tuplin has been ordering lots of books on mushroom identification and foraging.

“It’s a symbiotic relationship that goes both ways,” said Tuplin. “I reflect what the community wants, and then the community supports me in return.”

As well as offering a wide variety of books, Serendipity also holds monthly book club events. Tuplin calls it “After Hours Book Club” and it’s an event that hosts authors and guest speakers from all around the country over Zoom.

This month, the meeting featured special guest Ruta Sepetys, author of popular novels such as Between Shades of Gray (also known as Ashes in the Snow) and Salt to the Sea.

One thing that Tuplin wants readers to know is that if you’re looking for a book that Serendipity doesn’t carry, ask and she will order it. Tuplin tries her best to provide everyone with the books they love. It’s easy and takes her anywhere between one and five days to stock an ordered book but she said that “for the community it’s enormous.”