Last fall, Ed Hermance, proprietor of the country’s oldest LGBT bookstore, Giovanni’s Room in Philadelphia, Pa., told PW that if he didn’t find a buyer, he would close the story in January 2014. The deadline was extended for several months and Giovanni’s Room is now slated to close on Saturday. But, in a new twist, Hermance announced yesterday that he is in discussions with a potential buyer, a large LGBT-related organization in Philadelphia.
“If it seems they can decide in the next week or so, the store will not close before they decide,” Hermance wrote to customers. “But if it seems the decision won’t come till June, then the store’s last day will be Saturday, May 17 and, hopefully, it will reopen later.” He also offered a “heart-felt thanks” to those who have come to say good-bye.
Hermance also announced that the bookstore is considering taking legal action against those who stole its e-mail list and used it to hold a meeting last week to discuss a post-Giovanni’s Room future. “The store has never lent, leased, or sold its e-mailing list to anyone. It is shocking that the organizers of the meeting took the emailing list without permission,” he noted.
It’s not clear if the potential buyer is interested in leasing the bookstore space or buying the buildings, which Hermance also owns. He has said that when he dies he will donate the money from the sale or rental of the buildings to the Delaware Legacy Fund, which gives LGBT grants.