St. Mark's Bookshop opened in its new home at 136 E. Third St. just west of Avenue A last July 19 after well-documented financial struggles with escalating rents and declining business at its previous home on Third Avenue.
Despite lower rents in the new location, the bookshop is still in arrears. Here's part of a letter that Bookshop co-owner Bob Contant sent out to patrons this morning:
We love our new space. It recently won the American Institute of Architects award for Interior Design.
Unfortunately, we were undercapitalized for the cost of the move. We were forced out of our old space before our new one was ready, and the cost of going into storage plus construction overruns left little money with which to buy inventory. Those of you who have visited our new store in recent months may have noticed the understocked shelves.
For 37 years St. Mark's Bookshop has been a beacon of culture in the East Village, attracting people from across the city, the nation, and around the world. We remain committed to providing a showcase for the life of the mind as expressed by the best books and periodicals being published today, as well as stocking the best of the past. We hold readings and events you cannot find elsewhere. To continue in our mission we need people who value our work and goals to help us.
Please consider buying an ownership interest in a new St. Mark's Bookshop. We have been approached by an investor who is interested in funding a rebirth of the bookstore, reorganizing and restructuring the business with an eye to long term viability. He is looking for others to join him in an investment team. Please contact me if this prospect interests you.
So many people have told us that they need us here in the East Village. We want to continue to serve you and the world of thought and literature. Please help to make that possible, and as always, we appreciate your continued support.
Co-owner Terry McCoy told DNAinfo's Lisha Arino today that the shop isn't in in danger of closing in the immediate future.
"We are in a difficult situation financially and every day is a new challenge. But we don't have any plans to close. That's why we’re pursuing this, we want to take action now to be able to continue."
Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: St. Mark's Bookshop prepping fundraiser ahead of possible move to Avenue A.
Is this the new home for the St. Mark's Bookshop?
Report: St. Mark's Bookshop signs lease for East 3rd Street space
Renovations at the future St. Mark's Bookshop on East 3rd Street