The Strand, New York City’s 93-year-old independent bookstore so familiar as an East Village literary signifier that it’s long been a go-to for filmmakers and location scouts, is in danger of closing, its owner says.
The three-story shop and its “18 miles” of new and used books has appeared in such movies and TV shows as Remember Me, The Romanoffs, Absolutely Fabulous, Sex and the City, Six Degrees of Separation, Julie & Julia, Flesh and Bone, Master of None, the 2011 Arthur remake and the 2020 doc The Booksellers, but has seen a devastating decline in revenue since the start of the COVID-19 shutdown.
“Our revenue has dropped nearly 70% compared to last year, and the loans and cash reserves that have kept us afloat these past months are depleted,” says Nancy Bass Wyden, the third generation owner of the Strand, in an Instagram and Twitter message posted Friday. The granddaughter of founder Benjamin Bass posted the message to encourage customer support as a last-ditch effort to keep the doors open.
Bass writes that “while the loan we were given and our cash reserves allowed us to weather the past eight months of losses, we are now at a turning point where our business is unsustainable.” She attributes the business crisis to “the huge decline in foot-traffic, a near complete loss of tourism, and zero in-store events.”
Bass asks for the public’s support through online and in-store purchases, and by sharing the hashtag #savethestrand. The next few months, she says, will determine the bookstore’s survival.
Earlier this week, LA’s Book Soup and its parent shop, Vroman’s in Pasadena, posted a similar plea-for-help Instagram message, calling the last few months “the most difficult in our company’s 126 year history.”
“The fight continues,” writes Book Soup. “This doesn’t end when 2020 does…”
📣 We need your help. This is the post we hoped to never write, but today marks a huge turning point in The Strand's history. Our revenue has dropped nearly 70% compared to last year, and the loans and cash reserves that have kept us afloat these past months are depleted. pic.twitter.com/mI074pigZu
— Strand Book Store (@strandbookstore) October 23, 2020
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📚 Thank you SO much for your support of Book Soup and our parent store, Vroman’s in Pasadena! Keep shopping local and keeping community alive. The fight continues! This doesn’t end when 2020 does, so let’s keep spreading the love and voting with our dollars. And read the info below! 💛 Repost @vromansbookstore: Friends, the past few months have been the most difficult in our company’s 126 year history and Vromans needs your help to stay open! Here’s how you can support your local indie (you can also visit the link in our bio for more info): 1) Shop now for books, gifts and gift cards with us and encourage others to do the same. (Shop online with curbside pickup, call us to place an order, or have it shipped. Return to shop in our stores with our new health and safety measures in place) 2) Shop in-store on weekday mornings rather than busy weekends or afternoons. Shop early before the Dec holiday crowds – stores will be far less crowded in Oct and Nov and shipping delays and printing shortages are expected. 3) We also need your help to get the word out. Reach out to your friends and contacts. Visit the link in our bio to download a shareable to post on social media with the hashtag #shopvromans. Don’t forget to tag us! We truly appreciate your support during this critical time and for the past 126 years. Thank you so much and stay well! ❤️📚🙏🏻 . . . . #vromans #shoplocal #shopsmall #indiebookstore #independentbookstore #booksoup #greatandinfamous