As you likely already know, the pandemic pushed many businesses to the edge, including on beloved bookstore from North Carolina. Thankfully, one celebrity-backed Super Bowl ad saved the shop!
Indie Bookstore In Risk
Foggy Pine Books in Boone, North Carolina, has been struggling since the pandemic began. Once upon a time, its rows were filled! After all, it’s one of the only bookstores in the world with a drive-thru window to pick up online orders! But, coronavirus and lockdowns left the bookshop’s founder and owner Mary Ruthless with no choice but to close the doors. Meanwhile, online sales barely provided enough cash to keep the business afloat. Still, Ruthless somehow found the strength to keep her fans abreast of the store’s condition every day on Instagram.
“I did everything I could try to do to stay in business,” Ruthless recalled. “There were several weeks I didn’t take a paycheck, I had to lay people off after our PPE ran out, but we made it through the holidays… I was really pleased with that, but winter is our slowest season and I was really concerned about whether or not we were going to make it through the season.”
Soon enough, a GoFundMe popped up to help Foggy Pine Books. “The owner, Mary Ruthless, has poured their heart and soul into this establishment portraying their passion for books and love for all people no matter their age, race, gender or whatever it may be; all are welcome there. But maybe not for long,” the page read. Unfortunately, the situation still looked bleak. That is, until a celebrity got involved…
Super Bowl Ad Comes To The Rescue
Little did Ruthless know, her luck was about to change. Wanting to help small businesses around the country, The Late Night Show host Stephen Colbert bought a Super Bowl ad to promote them! “These big companies aren’t the ones who need our support the most right now. It’s small businesses out there who have been hurt the most in this pandemic,” he explained.
Soon enough, Colbert had selected Foggy Pine Books to take part in the commercials. Even today, Ruthless still doesn’t know exactly why her bookstore was chosen – but she’s not complaining! “It was kind of like winning the lottery,” Ruthless said. “They wanted to feature a small business that had been hit hard by COVID and do what they could to promote them. I don’t know exactly what it was that caught their eye. I’m sure part of it was our drive-thru.”
For those who caught the Super Bowl commercial, you probably remember Foggy Pine Books’ fantastic ad. Actor Sam Elliot did the voice-over, while star Tom Hanks also talked about the bookstore, even singing a little diddy! Of course, the ad worked wonders. Ruthless earned more than 500 orders that night, with many, more flying in the next few days.
“Three weeks ago we were wondering how we were going to make it through winter and now I’m having to hire a couple of extra people to process all the extra orders,” the founder stated happily. What a happy ending! If you missed the commercial, make sure to check it out on Youtube!