Owners: Jianna Heur and Jason Heur
Established: February 1, 2020
Based in: Rockaway Beach
Link to website: www.avoidtheday.org
Avoid The Day, a Rockaway Beach bookstore born just six weeks before the pandemic, is fighting to be a literary haven for Queens locals.
Owners Jianna and Jason Heuer first met while working together at a New York City publishing house, Simon & Schuster. In 2012, they got married and in 2016, the pair moved to Rockaway Beach, Queens to live by the water and be a part of a cozy community of their own.
“My dream always has been to own a bookstore,” owner Jianna Heur said. “It’s a magical, wonderful place.”
The shop’s quirky name, ‘Avoid the Day,’ was actually inspired by a text exchange that happened while Jianna and Jason were heading to work. Text message autocorrect did what it does best, copyediting “have a good day” to “avoid the day”.
The moniker stuck, and early in 2020, the bookstore dream became a reality — at least for a short while.
The snug shop has no Wifi, working to mirror the feeling of being unplugged and entranced in literary wonder.
But the dream was short lived — just a few weeks after opening, the bookstore had to close as the coronavirus pandemic upended small business life across the boroughs and beyond.
“There wasn’t a lot to do in February, but for the first seven weeks we got an actual taste of what running a bookstore would feel like before we closed,” Jason Heur said.
Since reopening the establishment on June 1, Avoid The Day mandates that masks must be worn at all times while inside the shop, and requires that all appointments be for 30 minutes for up to four people. Curbside pickup for books is also available.
Today, the bookstore encourages locals to take a pause in the present and enjoy life’s simple pleasures, starting with a really good book, a fresh cup of coffee, and a WiFi-less nook.
According to the pair, it’s a feeling of being ‘in the moment’ that’s important now, maybe more so than ever before.
Tdoday, the Heurs leave this message of hope for their Queens neighborhood:
“This community is awesome, and people come together to help each other and support one another. We will continue to support people in the way we have and any other ways we can think of.”