An article in The Villager this week confirms that the situation is bleak at the bookshop.
The latest local victim in an ongoing national trend afflicting independent booksellers, St. Mark’s Bookshop has considerably downsized its staff due to rising costs and declining sales.
The current economic downturn coupled with steep overhead costs and dwindling sales finally forced the management of St. Mark’s Bookshop, on Third Ave. near E. Ninth St., to lay off all of the shop’s part-time staff and to reduce the hours of full-timers. The downsizing occurred last October, but the business continues to struggle because of the ongoing economic stresses.
David Russo, a manager at the bookstore, said St. Mark’s is enduring a “perfect storm.”
According to Russo, St. Mark’s is in no danger of shuttering in the short term, but the store’s situation is still dire.
“I wouldn’t say it’s merely a little tight, but I wouldn’t say we’re planning on closing the store,” he said. “That’s not the plan right now, but that is a possibility, I would have to say.”
With the addition of the fancy new 51 Astor Place tower across the street, things can only get worse. As the article points out, "the bookstore occupies valuable real estate and staff members said the landlords are unwilling to lower the rent for the space."
“Mostly, when we deal with them, we’re told that they could get a lot more for the space,” Russo told the paper.