The Book House, the suburban St. Louis bookstore that is fighting eviction from its premises, has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to relocate. The store's owner, Michelle Barron, hopes to raise $50,000 to move the store's 300,000+ books to another retail space.
"We need 3,000-5,000 square feet of retail space," she wrote on the Indiegogo Web site, "We need to find a new location, put down a downpayment and lease, built out, and moving costs alone may cost at least $50,000."
The Book House was served with notice on May 1 that the building housing the 27-year-old bookstore -- a 150-year-old, three-story Victorian house -- had to be vacated by July 31. A Michigan developer, Bill Bowman of Great Northern Land Company, is in the process of purchasing the property, with plans to demolish it and adjacent buildings and to build an industrial storage facility.
"Because of the protests, we have been given an eviction notice from the landlord who has not yet finalized the contract with the developer," Barron told PW this morning. "So the bookstore is going to have to move out regardless. Even if they can save the building by moving it." The two other businesses situated on the 1.5 acre lot have yet to be served with eviction notices.
"Should we not reach the $50,000 goal, any funds we've received will go into the pot with other fundraising activities we'll be organizing," Barron wrote on Indiegogo. If she ends up closing the store, all donations will be refunded.
As of this morning, $600 has been raised of the $50,000 needed, with 56 more days to left in the fundraising campaign.
Robin Tidwell, the owner of a bookstore in nearby Creve Coeur, Missouri, All on the Same Page Bookstore, started an online petition two weeks ago on Change.com, where supporters can sign and e-mail copies of the petition to the mayor and aldermen of the city of Rock Hill, Mo., asking them to "stop the tear-down and re-development of The Book House. To date, 1,736 people have signed and e-mailed the petition to city officials.
Tidwell wrote on a local blog, "If you pick on one of us, you've picked on the entire Alliance [the St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance]" in urging readers to support their local bookstores, and specifically The Book House.
Tidwell and other members of the St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance also organized a rally outside the bookstore Tuesday evening that drew about 30 people, who stood on the street waving signs and passing out flyers.
The city of Rock Hill's Historic Preservation Commission's agenda for a meeting this evening includes a proposal for the "redevelopment of The Book House property site."