The heart and soul of a people is their creativity contained in books. While a large chain bookstore, such as Barnes and Noble, would be a wonderful business anchor, it is not the only option as there are many successful independent bookstores in existence (see examples below).
People who do open bookstores don’t do it because they want to get rich quick. They do it because they love books, they want to serve and bring the community together and they live in the area. Rising or high commercial rents as well as taxes can stymy many mom-and-pop shops but particularly bookshops.
Independent bookshops and bookstores on their own are not big income producers unless it is coupled with a café and/or has sufficient space available for performances such as poetry readings, music performances, meet-the-authors/book readings, writers’ workshops, study areas for students and other creative events.
An innovative bookshop/bookstore that can also serve beer and wine in addition to coffee and tea would be a place to relax and meet-up with friends, while creating a lounge atmosphere might be one solution to the financial challenge of running an independent bookshop/bookstore.
Examples of successful independent bookstores are:
“Busboys and Poets” in DC - they seem to be thriving;
“The Spotty Dog Books & Ale” located in Hudson, NY and situated in an old firehouse, they offer a great selection of books, serve local craft beers, host readings and live music performances; and
“The Bookstore” in Lennox, MA, combines books with a wine bar and is a wonderful place to hang out.
It is astounding that a city the size of New Rochelle, with some great public schools and several colleges, does not have 1 bookshop/bookstore for its residents and students which is a sad testament to its current situation.
Idea authors: Kimberly, Wildwood
Images: Housing Works Bookstore Cafe