Thinking about those (mostly British) “my life fell apart, so I moved to a picturesque village and opened a bookstore/cafe/bakery” books, I was pondering what I’d do in that situation, assuming that hiding in a house somewhere and writing books wasn’t an option. I don’t think it would work in a village, but in a decent-sized city, I think I’d want to open a female-oriented science fiction/fantasy bookstore.
My experience with specialty bookstores, or even general bookstores leaning toward genre, in that area hasn’t been all that great. They tend to be very “guy” spaces. They smell kind of nasty and are fully of creepy customers, and sometimes creepy owners/employees. They can be hostile to girls and women, either playing the “you’re a fake geek girl if you can’t answer my obscure trivia questions” game or drooling all over themselves at the thought of a girl who reads fantasy, so you get treated like a unicorn.
So, do a sf/f bookshop along the lines of some of those romance bookshops, focusing on fantasy, science fiction, paranormal romance, and maybe mysteries. It would be decorated nicely and smell good. There would be a tea shop, so you could hang out and drink tea and read the books you just bought. There might be special themed tea events, as well. Host book discussion groups, maybe some “girls’ night out” game nights. Story times with children’s books (to hook new fans). Maybe throw in some other girl geek type activities, like knitting/crocheting groups, possibly sell yarn on commission from local fiber artists who spin/dye.
Men would be welcome, since you can’t discriminate, but the idea would be to create a comfort zone for women where they don’t have to worry about being hit on, creeped on, challenged for their geek credentials, patronized, or any of the other stuff we have to deal with in geeky spaces. Anyone behaving like that would be asked to leave.
This is highly unlikely to ever happen because it would involve dealing with people on a daily basis, and that’s just not me, plus it would require large amounts of money to start something like this, but if someone wants to run with the idea, feel free and invite me to do a signing.