Letter to the editor: The time has come to work together
Every now and then something very important happens that can change the trajectory of a community. Sometimes we do not know the impact that small things can have on a community like ours. This past month we lost our beloved Narrow Gauge Newsstand. Many of us started ordering online or have started to read less and spend more time watching television. As, this began to happen, sales declined. In 2017, the newsstand lost close to $25,000. So how in the world do we expect to re-open it and be successful? Well, over the last few weeks some very dedicated human beings have put their heads together to try to figure this out. The current owner of the building is gifting us all the fixtures, the computers, software and a very reasonable rent. That is our starting point and here are our ideas that might allow for the only independent bookstore in the whole SLV to continue its operations:
- Form a Coop! Coops are not nonprofits, but their bottom line is not just making a profit, but also ensuring that the community benefits as well. Many people in the community can be owners either owning common stock at $100 per share or $500 of preferred stock which can get dividends of up to 6 percent per year.
- Create a place to gather. The new store will have comfortable sitting places, book signings, readings, a children’s corner, story time, book clubs and ways to come together and create connections-so important in these days.
- Utilize Volunteers. We will hire a volunteer coordinator and possibly an employee or two, but we will utilize volunteers as well to run the store.
- Develop a Membership Program that allow members to make a commitment to buy locally at the store, possibly ordering at home online and picking up at the store through an Indie bookstore website. These will range from $10-$100 per month and offer store credits to purchase books throughout the year and provide a discount to members.
So, please consider getting involved as a volunteer, member, and/or owner. If you love small bookstores, if you love books, if you love having a bookstore as an anchor in our community-please join us! We will host an open house this coming Friday night the 4th of May at the bookstore. We will begin at 5:30 p.m. and provide snacks and drinks. Volunteers will be there to help you decide how to get involved. We really only have one month to figure this out. If we do not raise the funds necessary to move forward, we will not. But we anticipate that we will be able to move forward, due to the interest we are seeing in the community. Let’s just do it before it is too late!