Rainy Day Books in Fairway will reopen for in-store shopping June 1

Rainy Day Books

Vivien Jennings, left, and Roger Doeren, pictured above, are preparing for a June 1 reopening of Rainy Day Books at the Fairway Shops. The bookstore has been closed to in-person shopping since Kansas City area COVID-19 shutdowns began in March 2020. Photo courtesy Rainy Day Books.

Rainy Day Books, a Fairway staple that’s been in business for 46 years, will reopen the store for in-person shopping on June 1 for the first time in nearly 14 months.

The bookstore closed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when metrowide stay-at-home orders were issued in March 2020, and has only reopened to fulfill online orders and curbside pickup.

Last year, owners Vivien Jennings and Roger Doeren asked the community and loyal patrons for donations after facing economic challenges posed by the pandemic shutdown.

Although Jennings and Doeren initially hoped to reopen for in-person shopping in November to coincide with the store’s 45th anniversary, they decided against that, opting to wait until their staff were all fully vaccinated.

Now, Rainy Day Books is ready to open its “living room,” or store, back up to its customers. Jennings said they and their customers have been missing the personalized interactions with staff members. She said curbside pickups are not the same as being able to talk and catch up with their friends and long-time patrons.

“It’ll be a real treat to smile and laugh with [customers], have them smile and laugh with us, and have great talks about books,” Jennings said.

Although Rainy Day Books hasn’t been able to connect with customers in-person, Jennings and Doeren were able to connect with a longtime customer who now lives in Virginia. The customer wanted a replacement for a mug, like the one above, that she purchased in 1985. Photo courtesy Rainy Day Books.

While the bookstore is reopening, Jennings said it’s one step closer to the “new normal.” This means employees will keep an eye on social distance and will be required to wear masks in the store.

Additionally, Rainy Day Books will ask that customers also wear masks, she said. (Johnson County’s public health order has expired, but many businesses are still encouraging customers to wear masks.)

Rainy Day’s COVID-19 safety measures will be fluid, Jennings said.

Until there’s further guidance from local and national health experts about mitigation measures like masking and physical distancing, Rainy Day Books’ main priority is protecting its employees and customers, Jennings said.

“We want to put people ahead of profit,” Jennings said. “The customers and our staff are the most important for us. We have to do what’s best for them, so that’s what we’re doing.”

Rainy Day Books will remain open for curbside pick-up until its full June 1 reopening.

Orders can be placed online, via email at mailbox@rainydaybooks.com or via phone at (913) 384-3126.