Iconic independent NYC bookstore The Strand was founded in 1927 and moved to its current location at East 12th St and Broadway in 1957; it's since opened an Upper West Side location, too, in addition to kiosks in Times Square and Central Park. While the shop, which employed the likes of Patti Smith, Tom Verlaine of Television, and Richard Hell over its history, and has had its "18 Miles of Books" featured prominently in pop culture, survived the Great Depression and other challenges, it's now, like all other independent businesses, struggling once again as the coronavirus pandemic continues, and additional aid for businesses (music venues included) isn't passed by Congress. In a post on social media, they write, "We need your help. This is the post we hoped to never write, but today marks a huge turning point in The Strand's history. Our revenue has dropped nearly 70% compared to last year, and the loans and cash reserves that have kept us afloat these past months are depleted." Read the letter in full below.
We Need Your Help!
I grew up in the Strand, of at least that's the way it felt to me. I remember the old floorboards clacking under my Mary Janes, the ghostly grey walls, the magical delight when I found the candy colored books gracing the wooden children's shelves and the thrill that I could bring home any book I wanted. As i watched my grandfather and dad working side-by-side evaluating piles of books at the front door buying desk, never did I imagine that the store's financial situation would become so dire that I would have to write friends and devoted customers for help. It hurts to write this, but that is the predicament that we are now in.
The Strand's revenue has dropped nearly 70% compared to last year. And while the loan we were given and our cash reserves allowed us to weather the past eight months of losses, we are now at a turning point where our business is unsustainable.
We've survived just about everything for 93 years -- the Great Depression, two World Wars, big box bookstores, e-books and online behemoths. We are the last of the original 48 bookstores still standing from 4th Avenue's famous Book Row. Because of the impact of Covid-19, we cannot survive the huge decline in foot-traffic, a near complete loss of tourism, and zero in-store events (compared to 400 events pre-pandemic).
As the 3rd generation owner, I have tried to imagine what my dad and grandfather would do right now after they spent their entire lives -- 6 days a week -- working at the store. I don't believe they would want me to give up without a fight and that's why I'm writing you today.
What can you do to help?
- Visit our website and shop our gift guide at strandbooks.com
- Visit our stores -- 828 Broadway and 12th St. (open - 11am-8pm) and 450 Columbus Ave and 82nd St. (open 11am-6pm)
- Give gifts from Strand -- chose from books, gift cards, subscription boxes, journals, totes and more.
- Encourage your friends to shop at Strand Books.
- Spread the word -- share this email and post about us on your social media using the hashtag #savethestrand
- Shop Early and Shop Local!
The next few months will determine the future of The Strand. Can we count on your help?
I'm going to pull out all the stops to keep sharing our mutual love of the printed word. But for the first time in The Strand's 93 year history, we need to mobilize the community to buy from us so we can keep our doors open until there is a vaccine.
With gratitude, determination and appreciation,
Nancy Bass Wyden, Proprietor
Strand Book Store
828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003 (on 12th St)
212.473.1452 x 100 | firstname.lastname@example.org