Sales flourish as shops open after two-month closure

‘I feel people are eager to browse shelves again.’

Toysim owner Tzuf Solomon at the front of his store. The interview was done while he was wearing a mask (photo credit: HAGAY HACOHEN)
Toysim owner Tzuf Solomon at the front of his store. The interview was done while he was wearing a mask
(photo credit: HAGAY HACOHEN)
Two teenage girls used their Sunday to get their ears pierced, hang out and buy NIS 350 worth of records at the Third Ear.
“Lots of young people are buying vinyl records,” Ishay Berger told The Jerusalem Post as he was helping the young women. “If a few years ago Arctic Monkeys were hot, now Billie Eilish gives them a run for their money.”
With 15 years’ worth of experience working at the record store, which is also a label, a DVD rental store and a performing space when health conditions permit, Berger said Sunday had been “a strong day.”
“Kids always come here to look for the classics like Led Zeppelin and Pearl Jam,” he said. “Thanks to that, we can introduce them to other things as well.”
Berger was placed on unpaid leave twice, but started his first day at work with an optimistic mood. “You can’t download how a record feels,” he said.
At the French bookstore Librairie du Foyer, clients walked in and asked about books on Jewish topics and even for a copy of the Post.
“We got some government support and help from the Centre National Du Livre [French National Book Center],” owner Myriam Ezra told the Post. “We have been here for 52 years and I feel people are eager to browse shelves again.”
During the lockdown, the demand for children’s books in French soared as families were stuck at home and there were no flights, she said. Families were unable to buy them in France as they normally do.
“The human spirit needs books,” The Bookworm co-owner Eliana Ydov told the Post. “I would be happy if everyone would visit us.”
The Bookworm had been in business for 36 years, and “it is a great joy to be back,” she said.
Ydov expressed her concern over publishing houses pushing back planned releases of new books due to the economic crisis, and mentioned several discounts the store currently offers for anyone keen on psychology, poetry, or quality literature.
TOYSIM OWNER Tzuf Solomon pointed out his delivery guy and said “thanks to him, we can get toys anywhere in this city in two hours flat.”
The store, which offers high-quality toys for all ages, was founded in 1992 by his late mother, Eti Doron.
“I was living in South Africa and returned when she was diagnosed with cancer,” Solomon said. Toys run in the family. His grandparents owned the Malka toy store in Jerusalem for many years.
Solomon made it clear that he feels a strong connection to the store and is honored to be able to carry on his mother’s legacy.
“We got no help from the state because, after she passed, the ownership was changed to me. So we were unable to point to previous earnings because that transition meant starting from a blank space,” he explained.
“Thank God we were able to set up online orders that can reach all over this country, from Eilat to the Golan Heights,” he added.
He made it clear that the store has “something for everyone, no matter what your budget is. For even NIS 50 you can find a great toy. Not just for children, for adults too.”
FOR DANNI Amitai, co-owner of Comics and Vegetables, the first day at the open-to-the-public store was very busy with roughly 200 clients coming in to show support, see what’s new, and pick up a fresh comic.
“People are buying a lot of superhero comics,” he said, joking that they might need “to escape into a better world because of COVID-19.”
He said people are also buying “in bulk,” meaning thick, expensive volumes collecting the adventures of caped-crusaders seeking justice.
The store had been around for two decades and “we got government help,” he said, “but it was enough to cover half the rent.
“Most of our sales moved online. We can deliver comics to your doorstep or have them ready for you when you visit us to pick them up,” he explained.
This is an odd twist of fate for old-time Israeli comic book fans who remember Comics-Express, a mail-delivery service that closed down in the 1990s. It was replaced by the Israeli comic book shop – Something that didn’t exist before and was lauded as a sign of great progress. Now it seems mail orders are the future that fans will need to get used to – at least those who haven’t moved to reading their comics in digital formats.
“I’m sorry to say so,” Amitai said as he handed another customer his comics, “but with the infection rate being what it is, I think we won’t be open for even two weeks. No way are we going to make it in time for Hanukkah.”