Saturday, July 26, 2014

Please save Bibliohead Bookstore

A letter from Melissa Richmond, owner of Bibliohead Bookstore

Dear Friends and Family,

It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter. Many of you know what is going on with Bibliohead Bookstore which is my creation and livelihood. To some this will be a surprise. It is not always easy to talk about. But in fact I am full of despair and outrage, as we are being forced to vacate after our lease expires for an earthquake retrofitting and building renovation project. This may occur as soon as September 30. I have attempted to negotiate with the building owners to return to our successful location after the project is completed, but have been refused, despite paying our rent for 10 years and averaging at least 7% sales growth every year. The owners want a high priced boutique instead. As the project unfolds delays and logistics have forced us to vacate even sooner than expected.

This is all quite shocking and could prove to be devastating. I have been working hard to find a new location. But it’s not easy. Because of San Francisco’s Soft Story Retrofit Mandate, competition is fierce for properties. Many remain in limbo for months while work is planned. The cost is high for post retrofit properties, as owners try to recoup the costs of the work.

 We have been outbid, and some prospective owners wonder how a bookstore can be successful without seriously giving our track record consideration, not to mention plans to develop new streams of income if we can stay here in San Francisco. Some properties have just not been the right fit. Newly built storefronts abound in San Francisco but generally come with a higher price tag due to the cost of build out from a raw state.

Because our lease will not be in force while this all occurs, we are offered little protection from the city which requires this work. We consider this very poor planning. It is not fair to lose a good business that contributes to the cultural landscape of San Francisco and celebrates its independent, creative history. The fact that the city is in a real estate gold rush does not help as commercial properties including our own double in price. We are not alone in being affected this way. Customers report an epidemic of favorite small businesses that are suddenly closing or on the ropes because of all this.

I need your help in a crowdfunding campaign that will help create a better vantage point in negotiating with prospective owners. Having more of a nest egg will allow us to consider properties that need more work. Realistically we know we will be paying more rent. This has never been out of the question. Having a greater reserve will help show we are doubly prepared to handle expenses as we find new customers and old customers find us in our new home. That we received contributions from customers and folks dedicated to keeping bookstores alive and well will mean to property owners that we come with a solid base, one that will continue to translate into sales and security.

Please help. Donate now at indiegogo: We need to keep our campaign ignited to show momentum to potential contributors, and prospective property owners. If you have already contributed, thank you. We need your continued generosity and creativity to help us find a solution.

What can you can do:

Donate now at indiegogo:
If you work for an area business or organization, consider a group or sponsored donation.
Tell your friends and share our video with everyone via social media.
Donate cool books to the store that we can sell or use in the campaign.
Are you a landlord looking for a quality retail tenant? Let us know!
Don’t stop fighting for a real San Francisco—for all of us.
And of course, keep shopping at Bibliohead!

Thanks for your support,

Melissa Richmond, owner
Bibliohead Bookstore
334 Gough Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
415-621-6772 /

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