Browse away, bookworms: Reston’s Scrawl Books reopens doors today after renovation

More than a year after closing to indoor shopping, Scrawl Books is reopening its doors today (Tuesday) so customers can once again browse the shelves to their heart’s content.

However, the Reston Town Center shop will look a little different from what loyal patrons remember.

Like its brethern around the country, Scrawl quickly pivoted to exclusively online events and services in March 2020 after the novel coronavirus forced a shutdown of the kind of in-person, cozy gatherings on which bookstores normally thrive.

Offering free delivery in the local area and curbside pick-ups throughout the pandemic, the shop also took advantage of the unanticipated closure to get in a renovation that owner Rachel Wood believes will improve customers’ experience now that they’re able to venture inside.

“It was difficult to close the doors to customers,” she said. “Fortunately, we were able to work through the transition, and use the time to renovate our space and evaluate our inventory to ensure that Scrawl is offering a comfortable experience and relevant selection for all of our readers.”

The store still occupies its familiar space at 11911 Freedom Drive next to Chipotle in the northeastern corner of Reston Town Center, but the interior walls have been removed, creating a more spacious venue, according to Scrawl Books manager Molly McMahon.

While Scrawl started letting customers book browsing appointments in May, today marks its return to full indoor services without time or capacity limits. The store’s regular business hours of 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays will take effect immediately.

Wood says the timing of the reopening was driven primarily by the arrival of summer weather and the promising trajectory of Fairfax County’s vaccination rates. As of May 27, more than 74% of adult residents had gotten at least one shot, putting the county well ahead of President Joe Biden’s target of 70% by July 4.

“As the weather gets nicer and vaccination numbers continue to rise, I feel confident that we can provide a safe environment for book lovers to browse our shelves,” Wood said.

Though Virginia lifted its capacity and social distancing requirements for businesses on Friday (May 28), Scrawl will continue taking some precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Masks are still required in the store, since “many of our best readers are young children,” who aren’t able to get vaccinated yet, Wood says. The staff also plans to keep the shop doors open so that fresh air can flow inside as much as possible.

In addition, curbside pick-up and delivery options will still be available, and the store has a combination of virtual and in-person events on its calendar, from an outdoor storytime with local artist and author Joan Waites to a virtual Wine Wednesday tomorrow and a virtual book launch for “In the Heights: Finding Home” featuring writer Quiara Alegría and composer/lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Local bookworms can also get their literary fix at Reston’s Used Book Shop, which has been open daily with evolving rules since September.

Photo courtesy Scrawl Books

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