While the coronavirus has affected many existing businesses across the city, there is a new business that has emerged during the midst of the pandemic. Crystal and Richard Tomasello co-own The Depot and created something that, until recently, was absent from the business scene in Auburn — an independent bookstore.
“A couple of years ago we went to a wedding in Asheville Battery Park bookstore,” said Crystal Tomasello. “We saw the unique way they operated and we said to each other that Auburn needs something like this.”
On Monday, their vision became a reality as their bookstore, Well Red Coffee, Books & Wine opened to the public at the old Dayspring location on Opelika Road, which has been renovated to combine the best of bookstores, coffee shops, and wines. Crystal mentioned that everything they offer is based on what her and her husband would like to see.
“When we go to dinner, we try to eat out at small business establishments, but go somewhere else for dessert," she said. "That’s what we provide here. We have all homemade desserts as well as an in-house baker. It’s a great place to relax and study as well as grab some coffee or wine.”
Opening a business during a pandemic has been especially hard, but Crystal found that it has made some aspects easier than usual.
“It has been crazy because everything shut down so quickly, so you have the issues of ordering things and shipping not coming on time, but you also didn't have to rush," she said. "But it gave us time to focus on details. We share the frustration and anxiety with other businesses but it's been nice to slow down.”
As customers begin to fill the store, Crystal notes that customer safety is their highest priority. Well Red is offering outdoor and spaced seating and every table is well cleaned. Staff members will constantly be wearing masks and gloves and customers are welcome to wear whatever level of personal protection they feel comfortable with.
Well Red opened on Monday and Crystal said she was extremely pleased with the turnout.
“Our customers are super special," she said. "They have all expressed that they are excited to have something like this in Auburn. People came in the morning for coffee and at night for wine.”
The Tomasellos are also offering the ability to order a book of choice. They have kept the bookshelves from being completely full as they are waiting to hear what customers want to read.
“We are wanting to know what our customers want to read and they are interested in," she said.
You can find more information about Well Red by visiting their website at wellredau.com and following them on Instagram and Facebook @wellredau.