Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Bookstore Gets Saved?!

Park Slope Community Bookstore was no small influence on the creation of the old Indigo storefront. I gained a lot of inspiration from the look-and-feel of the place and hoped that I could provide a similar space for a community of readers that were people of color. I had heard that they were having some financial issues; readers of this blog are well aware of the trouble that bookstores and booksellers have been having. And trust me, if Park Slope, a fairly literate affluent neighborhood here in Brooklyn, NY, can't support a bookstore, the industry as a whole must be in trouble.

Then this story takes a strange and wonderful turn. Instead of the community just accepting that a vital part of the local culture will disappear, they banded together to save it!

From New York Times by NATHANIEL POPPER:
"The Book Angels" —

Although the little shop had weathered the arrival of a Barnes & Noble down the street, it struggled against growing competition from Amazon.com. Ms. Bohne kept the place solvent by cutting titles and employees, but over time, the reduction in the selection began to erode sales. She was also burdened by debt, and last January the bank began foreclosure proceedings on the store.

Reluctantly, she came to the conclusion that although she had invested most of her adult life in the tiny storefront, she could no longer keep it going.
All the above I am intimately familiar with, then ...
It was around this time that Erika Doering, a local interior designer, paid a visit to the store and found Ms. Bohne in tears behind the register. Ms. Doering went home, telephoned a dozen loyal customers and invited them to a meeting in which participants divvied up responsibilities. Within a week, Ms. Bohne and a local real estate investor named David Sweeny had drawn up a business plan for the store and contacted the bank to renegotiate the loan.

Read the rest of the story


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