Bookends & Beginnings in Evanston, Ill., announced this past weekend that the store is launching an “Emergency Relocation Fund” GoFundMe fundraising campaign to finance its move to a new location. In mid-November, the store announced that it was forced to move at the end of January because its landlord has jacked up the store’s rent 125%. The funds raissed by the campaign will be used to transfer its entire inventory of 40,000 books to their new home on a major street less than two blocks away from its current alley location. The money will also go to building out a “giant vanilla box” on Orrington Avenue into a bookstore with “the kind of charm and magic that are such an integral part of our identity,” wrote owner Nina Barrett in her appeal for donations.

“We need to be out of our current space by the end of January 2023,” Barrett wrote. “We were not expecting to be in this situation and have no reserve funds that we can use to pay our projected costs for moving and building out the new space. And time is of the essence: The work must begin NOW in order for us to be ready to move in January.”

Bookends & Beginnings is hoping to raise $250,000 through this GoFundMe campaign. By Monday morning, it had raised more than $38,000 from close to 400 donors.

Barrett disclosed that she had asked the City of Evanston for a grant from the American Rescue Plan Fund earmarked for small businesses trying to recover from the financial hit Covid took on them, but was turned down. The City’s Economic Development Committee recommended that Bookends & Beginnings be allocated $83,000 from other sources, but the Evanston City Council will not vote to approve the allocation until its December 12 meeting. “And it represents only 18% - 20% of our total project costs,” Barrett noted.