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.
Robert Pattinson, in Strand t-shirt at bookstore, ‘Remember Me’ Summit
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