It’s safe to say few people outside Boone, North Carolina, had heard of Foggy Pine Books before last night, but that changed once Stephen Colbert, Tom Hanks and Sam Elliott pitched in to give the pandemic-hit local bookstore a Super Bowl-sized boost.
On last night’s special post-game installment of CBS’ The Late Show, Colbert noted that all those high cost Super Bowl commercials are out of reach for the small businesses struggling under the Covid pandemic and shutdowns. “These big companies aren’t the ones who need our support the most right now,” Colbert said. “Of course a small business could never afford the millions of dollars it would cost to produce and run an ad on CBS tonight.” So The Late Show, Colbert said, decided to pick a small business and just give it an ad. (A Colbert PSA encouraging the support of local businesses had already appeared during the game.)
With that introduction, a commercial for North Carolina’s Foggy Pine Books began, with a voiceover by the instantly recognizable Elliott, production values that included skydiving and edible books, footage of the very real bookstore and a testimonial by Hanks.
“Foggy Pine Books has the best selection in all of Boone,” said Hanks, holding up some books. “They have books on all of my interests such as World War II, and also books about the events from 1939-45.”
After the show, Foggy Pine Books posted a thank-you on its Twitter page, noting, “We are so excited & honored to be featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert! Welcome everyone!!”
Colbert didn’t explain how or why he chose the bookstore, but a Go Fund Me page for the struggling business provides a little background on the store. Foggy Pine is owned by a woman named Mary Ruthless, who “has poured her heart and soul into this establishment portraying her passion for books and her love for all people no matter their age, race, gender or whatever it may be; all are welcome there. But maybe not for long.
“This pandemic has hit small businesses hard and despite Mary’s efforts there has been minimal government aid,” the Go Fund Me page continues. “It’s up to individuals and communities of all sizes to work together to help those in need. And Foggy Pine is in need. Every community should have an inviting bookstore and Boone has one of the best and most welcoming indie bookstores on the entire east coast. It would be heartbreaking to let this award winning store slip away.”
No word yet on the shop’s post-Super Bowl book sales, but early indications look hopeful. On an Instagram post prior to the Colbert plug, Foggy Pine noted that it needs to sell 1,350 books this month to stay afloat. On its Facebook page, following the Late Show, a commenter wrote, “Anyone chosen for the Colbert Bump must be pretty cool! Just tried to order a book from you, but the one I want is sold out. Hope that means you got so much business from the ‘Super Bowl ad’ that you are swamped with orders! I’ll try again–you have a new fan.”
Watch the Colbert segment above, and see the store’s Instagram and Twitter posts below.
We are so excited & honored to be featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert! Welcome everyone!! https://t.co/C27yHk8uB7
— Foggy Pine Books—Boone’s Finest Indie Bookstore (@FoggyPineBooks) February 8, 2021