The owners of the Brooklyn-based Greenlight Bookstore announced on March 13 that they plan to shutter one of its locations as part of an effort to "reallocate our resources to better serve our customers."
According to a notice sent to its customer base, Greenlight's location at 632 Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Garden will permanently close on May 14, 2023, with a storewide sale and champagne toast event hosted by cofounders Jessica Stockton-Bagnulo and Rebecca Fitting. Greenlight's flagship location at 686 Fulton Street in Fort Greene, as well as the company's stationery store Yours Truly Brooklyn, will remain open.
"It's been an incredible six and a half years serving the community of PLG with books, events, and a space for local meetings. Though this is a change we need to make for the overall sustainability of Greenlight, we acknowledge this as a moment of sadness for our customers and our staff," said Stockton-Bagnulo, the store's owner. "We take our support of this community very seriously and will continue to work with our partners at the PLG Neighborhood Association and others to find ways to bring books to the neighborhood, even without a bookstore location."
In 2009, Greenlight opened its Fort Greene location after a neighborhood survey by the Fort Greene Association showed strong support for adding an independent bookstore to the community. According to Greenlight, a portion of the store's startup capital was sourced through a community lender program, and the store saw strong traffic and sales growth for its first 10 years.
After opening Greenlight's second location in Prospect Lefferts Garden in 2016, the owners sought to bring access to books to an underserved neighborhood and find additional administrative space to run its offsite events and school partnerships. Again, the location was largely funded by community lenders, and the store worked closely with the PLG Neighborhood Association to make connections in the neighborhood, according to Greenlight.
Stockton-Bagnulo said the decision to close one of Greenlight's locations is in no way a bad omen for bookstores in the area.
"One of Greenlight’s strengths as a small business has always been that we are able to adapt to focus on what’s working. This is a harder shift than we’ve had to make before, but the reasons behind it are the same," she said. "So really this is a story about a bookstore finding a way to go on."
She added: "We're proud to be a space that supports the needs of readers and of our staff. We've spent nearly 14 years serving the Brooklyn community, and we look forward to many more. We will continue to offer – as our mission statement says – 'a welcoming space for discovery, conversation and connection around books' at 686 Fulton Street, and anywhere else we meet readers."
A video message from Stockton-Bagnulo on the closure is below.
This article has been updated for clarity.