Prairie Lights Books to open for in-person shopping Saturday, first time since March

Iowa City store open for first time since March

Prairie Lights Books co-owner Jan Weissmiller puts a customers' book order in the trunk as the business offers no-touch
Prairie Lights Books co-owner Jan Weissmiller puts a customers’ book order in the trunk as the business offers no-touch curbside delivery in Iowa City, Iowa, on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Customers are instructed to open their trunks and a representative from the store will place their purchased items inside. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Prairie Lights Books will be open for in-person shopping with a limited capacity starting Saturday, the bookstore said in an email to customers.

Prairie Lights co-owner Jan Weissmiller told The Gazette she listened to advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, before deciding to open the store for the first time since March 19.

The timing allows the store to take advantage of the holiday shopping season. Saturday is Small Business Saturday, when customers are encouraged to shop locally.

“We have had so many people of all ages wanting to shop for their Christmas gifts,” Weissmiller said.

Since March, Prairie Lights has relied on curbside pickup, delivery and mail orders, which has not brought in as much business.

Weissmiller said the bookstore has also lost sales from the lack of in-person reading events.

“We’ve been doing virtual readings, but for the most part, they don’t sell books,” Weissmiller said. “When people come in, they see things they hadn’t thought about before.”

The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Sunday. The first two hours will be dedicated to by-appointment shopping for seniors and at-risk customers.


After that, customers can shop on a first-come, first-served basis with a limit of 12 customers in the store at any given time. Weissmiller said the store is about 10,000 square feet.

“We feel like we’ll be more than safe,” Weissmiller said.

Prairie Lights will continue to offer delivery and curbside pickup, Weissmiller said.

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