A black tuxedo cat crosses my path as I walk between Gifts and History, again as I move from Business to Spirituality, and finally, ducks into a hallway reserved for Employees Only, somewhere between Fiction and Kids – his name, is Dolly. 

In 1972 Dolly Makoff, owner of the Makoff Department Store in Salt Lake City, opened Dolly’s Bookstore on Main Street Park City. Since then, the store, like its books, has changed hands but never left its post and today stands in the same location of its birth, welcoming locals and tourists seeking classic charm, best sellers, and a peek at the feline namesake. “We’re one of the oldest businesses still running on Main Street,” says Dolly’s Manager Michaela Smith, “We’ve been in the same building the whole time, although it did burn down at one point.” A testament to the strength of small businesses in Park City, especially during a time of economic rebuild. But after 48 years, there’s no doubt Dolly’s Book Store has survived much worse.

But the big question on everyone’s mind is just what the future of retail will look like in a world where social distancing is making book clubs and author nights a challenge. So far, it looks a lot like what so many are calling “The New Normal.” “We are currently open and asking customers to help us keep everyone safe and well,” says Smith, “We’re trying to limit it to roughly 10 people in the store at a time. We have sanitation stations, we’re offering complimentary masks, and we’re using directional traffic in the store.” Dolly’s will also continue to offer curbside pickup for customers who feel uncomfortable shopping in-store just yet, welcoming online or phone orders in advance.

And yet, like all of us, Dolly’s knows all of this abnormal “New Normal” will one day come to a close, preparing their fall calendar for events that will bring us all closer than six feet, beginning with local Author Pam Houston, whose new memoir Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country, has been chosen as part of the One Book One Community program which has worked since 2003 through Utah Humanities, Park City and Summit County Libraries to support a greater love of literature by bringing the community together through a single read. “[Houston] will be hosting a writer’s workshop to talk about her process,” says Smith of the event that will be held September 10th at 7 pm in the Jim Santy Auditorium.

The book itself pays homage to rural mountain living chronicling Houston’s 120-acre ranch in Creed, Colorado that received acclaim by none other than the PCT-hiking mountain-woman herself, Cheryl Strayed. For more information on the event, visit Dolly’s website, or call them directly.

In addition to author nights this fall, Dolly’s plans to relaunch their monthly book club, a mix of local literati who collectively read from a Dolly employee chosen book, typically a hot new fiction, and gather to gab through the details, “It’s very casual and informal,” says Smith, “A staff member chooses the book and will kick things off with a few prepared questions but all the regulars are pretty outspoken.” And while the date for the meeting remains TBD, the next book on their discussion list is the late 2019 novel, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, available for purchase in-store or curbside pickup.

So whether you need a gift, a new read, a healthy distraction or a light at the end of the tunnel this summer, Dolly’s is offering that and then some, affording those stuck at home a window into worlds without pandemics and an event schedule for fall that feels much more like the “old normal.”