The country’s oldest LGBT bookstore, Giovanni’s Room in Philadelphia, Pa., has found a buyer.
Owner and cofounder Ed Hermance told PW that he is in the midst of working out an agreement with the same potential buyer that he had alluded to in an e-mail blast to customers two months ago, a local LGBT organization. Hermance declined to give the buyer’s name until the papers are signed.
The story of how Giovanni’s Room, which has been closed since mid-May, came to be sold involves almost as many plot twists as the James Baldwin novel for which it is named. Last fall, Hermance had announced that if a buyer didn’t come forward he would close the store in January. Then he was persuaded to keep it open through the spring. If all goes as planned, the new buyer will take over the lease on August 1 and the store will be up and running well before the fall season gets into full swing.
Although the bookstore will continue to operate under the Giovanni’s Room name, the new owner plans some changes. Probably the biggest one, according to Hermance, is the addition of significantly more used LGBT titles. The new owner also will introduce new sidelines, including fine furniture in one of the store’s five rooms. Giovanni’s Room will continue to rely on volunteer staff, including Hermance.