St. Mark’s Bookshop, which has long boasted a cult following, has achieved something, well, novel in the world of real estate: it has raised money online to help fund its lease at a new location, DNAinfo reported. For years the bookstore has been facing rent increases from its landlord Cooper Union, amid the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.
Last year the bookstore, which specializes in academic works and critical theory, generated more than 10,000 signatures on a petition demanding rent relief from Cooper Union, ultimately winning them a $2,500 per month rent reduction for one year and a pardon for $7,500 worth of debt. However, with that year come and gone, the struggling bookseller was forced to make the tough decision to move out of the now $20,000 a month space at 31 Third Avenue, which it has occupied since 1977.
To fund the move St. Mark’s turned to the community, setting up a page on the crowd-funding website LuckyAnt.com. The goals were to raise $23,000 for a lease on a new space within the East Village and to bolster its online presence. With two days to spare, $26,075 has been raised so far. But Jonathan Moyal, Lucky Ant’s founder, said that he hopes the community will continue to donate.
“St. Marks Bookshop is planning a move and $23,000 was the minimum they needed, but the more they raise the likelier it will be that they will get back on their feet and build a sustainable business,” Moyal told DNAinfo. “Our hope is to surpass it by as much as we can and make sure St. Mark’s Bookshop never has to raise money ever again.” [DNAInfo] – Christopher Cameron