Kathryn Welsh, owner and founder of Bluestockings Women's Bookstore on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, has put her store up for sale. Opened in June 1999, when Welsh was 23, Bluestockings was the only feminist bookstore in the city and focused on lefty, progressive political, gay-lesbian and academic books.
Welsh told PW that she is selling the store because she is leaving in the fall to study for an MBA in another city and not because of any financial duress. "This has been a great business project for me, and I love the bookstore. It's my passion and I adore it, but I'd like to go on and do some other bigger business things. It has room to grow, even in its existing space, and I'm willing to outline for a potential buyer how things can expand."
The 900-sq.-ft. store holds an inventory of 10,000 titles worth approximately $50,000. The stock is about 60% new and 40% used. Welsh noted that all accounts are in "good standing." The store has had revenues of $100,000— $150,000 annually. "In 2001, we hit our peak of $155,000 gross," she said. "After September 11, it took a bit to get back on our feet, but last year we still grossed $110,000." The store has two full-time employees as well as between 20 and 30 active volunteers. The store holds between five and 10 events per month.
Rent runs $2,000—$2,500 per month, and one year remains on the lease. "But we have a good relationship with our landlord," said Welsh, "so renewing shouldn't be a problem." The asking price is $60,000.
"This is a personal and not necessarily professional decision," said Welsh. "People have been interested so far, and I'm really hoping we get a buyer."
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