The Published Page Bookshop came to Cleburne in the summer of 2017, our twenty year old bookshop had found its new home. Since then we have put every resource at our disposal into the shop, the business community here and to Cleburne itself. It's been well spent, no regrets, but now we need your help. Without it this wonderful shop may be forced to close.What This Is About
For almost two years we have been working on a threefold mission.
1. Repairing, restoring, and bringing back to vibrant life the Chambers Building, 10 E Chambers St, Historic Downtown Cleburne, Texas.
2. Moving our large bookstore with all its books, fixtures, electronics etc to a new location, more than 50 miles from its former home.
3. Becoming part of the fabric of our new community.
We have made great progress on all three of these fronts. Our long range prospects look great, and on track. But,... short range there is a problem. Every month since we opened sales have increased. But they did not match our costs and overhead. The gap has narrowed each month, but the deficit has mounted.
Connye & I have subsidized the store since it opened, which we expected to do. Unfortunately, while sales have been growing, they have grown slower than expected & while we had planned for substantial expense in building repairs, there were several hidden faults that had to be repaired, and that cost far more in time and money than was budgeted. When we started this project Connye was to be an active partner. This past year both she and our youngest daughter have suffered prolonged debilitating health problems which have depleted both our finances and our energy.
All of this has created a significant cash flow problem. While this negative cash flow is a temporary problem, it is a critical one. We have fallen behind on both our mortgage & our taxes. We have been working with both our lien holder and with the taxing authority, but their patience is wearing thin. Without help we are probably facing foreclosure, and the loss of the store.
So, are we asking for a handout? Not really. We're asking for a hand-up. We've slipped a bit, and are asking for your hand to get us back on our feet and steady.
Hundreds of you have told us how much you appreciate our presence in Cleburne, and how much our store has added to the community. Thank you. We do appreciate and enjoy the praise.
We also believe a bookstore adds to the soul of a community. We own this store because we love and believe in the value of the printed book. We came to Cleburne because we believe we fit here. We love the town, the people, the historic old buildings. This is where we planned to be from now on. We still believe this, but we need help to make it happen.
We are asking you to help us cover the bills by basically pre-purchasing from our store. If you had ever planned to buy something from us for yourself or for someone else, here is a chance to do so, at a substantial discount, while helping ensure that Johnson County's only bookstore stays around for a long, long time.
Here are our suggested participation levels, showing what you would pay, and what you would receive in return. In every case you will receive more than the financial contribution you make. But we welcome a contribution of any size. If all you can spend is one dollar, please do so. Thousands of you have expressed your support for our shop, even one or two dollars from each of you would solve this critical need. Participation ChartYou contribute You receive
$10.00 $10.00 gift Certificate, Thank You Letter, Membership in Published Page Insiders
$20.00 $25.00 Gift Certificate, Thank You Letter, Membership in Published Page Insiders
$50.00 $65.00 Gift Certificate, Thank You Letter, Membership in Published Page Insiders
$100.00 $150.00 Gift Certificate, Thank You Letter, Membership in Published Page Insiders
All gift certificates and thank you letters will be prepared and mailed as quickly as possiblle when your contribution is processed. If you prefer these may be picked up in our shop. If you would like to give these as gifts please let us know the name and address of the recipient. Please read the FAQ below for more information. For any questions not answered please contact us. We will do our best to answer as quickly as possible.GoFundMe does not share your contact information with us. Please let us know where we should mail your rewards. You can email me: email@example.com Or text or phone me: 817-217-0656 - We do want to get these delivered as quickly as possible so please let us know how to get them to you.
We do have other contribution and reward levels planned for our IndieGoGo campaign. These are for major contributors of $1,000 or more. If you would like to learn about these levels before the IndieGoGo launch please contact me directly.
A Little History
In the summer of 2017 Connye & I purchased a vacant, damaged, 140 year old building on the courthouse square, determined to bring the historic building back to life, indeed back to its glory, and to build a truly outstanding independent bookstore in the center of Historic Downtown Cleburne. We've come a long way, but still have a way to go.
The Published Page Bookshop is the only bookstore in Johnson County, Texas, a county of 167,000 people. Over the past two years we have worked hard to become an integral part of the community. We joined and participate in the Historic Downtown Cleburne business association. We are active members of The Cleburne Chamber of Commerce and of the Keep Cleburne Beautiful Association.
Since we opened our doors we have hosted many local authors for book signings and readings, and will continue to do so. We host the monthly meeting of The Writers Group in Cleburne. We have hosted several meetings of Cleburne's VFW chapter. We have contributed hundreds of dollars in merchandise and gift certificates to dozens of fund raising efforts and charities in Cleburne. Our shop is available as a field trip or event destination to Cleburne's teachers and schools.
Connye & I love this community and have done what we can to support and become part of its fabric. We plan to continue this as long as we are able. Who We Are
I (Jim) founded The Published Page Bookshop in 1997. For more than twenty years my full time occupation has been handling, researching, stocking and selling books.
I am past president of the Independent Online Booksellers Association (IOBA). Our shop is a member of both the American Booksellers Association (ABA) and the Mountain and Plains Independent Booksellers Association (MPIBA). Before becoming a bookseller I spent several years as a consulting systems analyst and application developer. Prior to that I spent many years in the structural steel industry. I was Plant Manager for Besteel's manufacturing facility in Fort Worth for several years. Earlier I was General Superintendent of Continental Steel's Garland, Texas structural fabrication plant.
Connye is an ordained chaplain, and served for many years as chaplain to several Fort Worth and Arlington assisted living facilities, including alzheimer's units. She left her position as chaplain to join Fort Worth's Depression Connection Group, a 501-c3 organization providing mental health services. For almost twenty years she worked as a peer group facilitator serving as many as four client groups each week. Connye retired in 2017, partly because of personal health issues, but also so that she could engage fully in our new exciting venture in Historic Downtown Cleburne.
This was a major step for us, and for our shop. We decided we both needed to be fully involved. And to be honest, its the type of job that's a lot more fun when you're doing it together. While we're fully in Cleburne, we are still reachable online.
You can keep up with us on Facebook: Like us on Facebook
Or shop us online: The Published Page Bookshop Online
The video below is from the first episode of the online TV series "Downtown Heroes" It featured our shop, and gives a good visual of many of the items discussed here and touches on our plans as we go forward.
Please click on the link below. It will take you to the "About Us" page on our website. This tells our story, and has a little more about what we're working and planning to accomplish. Who we are, how we got here, where we're going.
This next video was recorded in early January this year. It gives a little better tour of the portion of our shop which is open for business at the present time. When we open the west side of the first floor our retail space will grow by about 50%. when we open the balance of the first floor and open the full second floor we will have increased our space by more than 300%.
The "Downtown Heroes" video mentions our IndieGoGo crowd funding campaign. This is a separate campaign from this GoFundMe campaign, and will be conducted on a much broader scale. The GoFundMe campaign is intended to reach out to our neighbors, to the literally thousands of people who have like our page, and posts, our videos. Who have sent notes of appreciation and called or dropped by our shop expressing thanks for bringing our business to Cleburne.
We are delighted to be here. But our mortgage holder, our electrical provider, our employees, the City of Cleburne, the CISD, and Johnson County have all indicated they would really like us to pay our accounts in negotiable funds. So, if you were ever going to buy from us, now is a chance to do so, and get up to 50% more for your money!
The gift certificates can be used to purchase anything we have in stock, and will never expire.
The IndieGoGo campaign will have a similar though more comprehensive set of reward levels, and will be devoted exclusively to the repair and restoration of 10 E Chambers St. You may be contacted again, but the target audience will be much broader and will have a different focus. We will announce details as we get closer to launch.
What is the difference. This GoFundMe campaign is to ensure the viability of your bookstore over the next 60 days during the deep seasonal slowdown in book sales. In our past we have been able to build sufficient reserves to easily cross this period. In the future we will be able to do so again. In this, our second year in Cleburne, we have exhausted most of our reserves moving and establishing our shop, but we haven't lost traction. We just need a little push from our neighbors to get past this slick spot then we'll be on solid ground.FAQs
Q - So you guys are losing money. Why do you think this will change?
A - Our foot traffic and sales have steadily increased since we opened for business in Cleburne and this increase shows no sign of slowing. When we moved in downtown Cleburne had dozens of empty, neglected buildings. One after another vibrant new businesses are moving into and revitalizing these old structures. Historic Downtown Cleburne is coming back to life in a big way.
We knew when we moved here that we would be dependent on business from outside of our area to thrive. This part of our business has been growing at a substantially faster pace than our local sales. It just started off at a lower base. I have been selling book for more than two decades, and except for the past year and a half, when I basically shut down our shop for six months, have had sales increases every year of business. This growth will continue.
Nationally the sales of printed books has increased each year for almost a decade. Our current cash flow problems are a temporary problem caused by a normal seasonal slowdown intersecting with increased outflow because of continued investment in the new store, and a slow but steady growth in customer base in this location.
We are actually close to break even on operations but we are still slowly paying down the debt we incurred as part of the move. The business is viable, now and long term. We plan to be here on the square in Cleburne for many, many years.
Q - Do I have to have my gift certificate when I come to the store to use it?
A - Yes. But if it gets lost or damaged let us know and we should be able to take care of the situation.
Q - Do I have to use my gift certificate all at one time.
A - No. We keep a computerized record of each certificate. At any time we can let you know what you have spent and what you have left on the books.
Q - Okay, I'm willing to contribute, but I want to use my PayPal account. GoFundMe won't let me do that.
A - Right, PayPal is not a GoFundMe supported payment option. However, we have set up a PayPal contribution page on our own website that you can use. Contributions there will receive the same rewards as those made through GoFundMe, and the amounts will be added to our GoFundMe campaign totals. You can access this page at: https://www.publishedpage.com/page/nextchapter-gofundmecampaign
Q - If I buy several gift certificates as gifts do I get the extra amount for the total purchase or for the value of each certificate?
A - We are set up to issue the certificates as shown in the chart above. However if you want to have your reward issued as multiple certificates for gifts and wish to receive the bonus for yourself, or as another gift contact us and we can do this manually.
e.g. You contribute $100 and want ten $10 gift certificates for grandchildren. When you contribute $100 the contribution chart indicates you would receive a $150 gift certificate. If you ask for ten $10 certificates we would also be happy to issue the additional $50 either as a single gift certificate or as additional smaller certificates. Just be sure you let us know your wishes.
Q - You sell online. Can I use my gift certificate for online purchases, or can I have it sent to someone in another area and have them able to use it online.
A - This can be done but you will need to notify us. We will need to add the certificate number to our online order processing system, and will need the email address of the person who will receive the certificate. This is not an automatic process, but we are certainly happy to set it up for you.
Q - Do we get our money back if the $15,000 goal is not met?
A - No, because of the type of request we are making this is not a project that will not go forward if the goal is not met. We plan to be here in Cleburne for a long time. This request is to meet a short term cash flow situation, and every contribution can and will be used.
Q - What happens if more than $15,000 is contributed?
A - Connye & I have already spent more than $100,000 on this project, and have committed to hundreds of thousands more. Any contributions over the $15,000 goal will be used toward the repair and renovation of the building.
There are several critical needs that must be met soon. The old roof on this structure has started developing leaks and needs to be repaired and resurfaced soon. As explained in the Downtown Heroes video, our second floor will require more than $250,000 repairs and upgrades before we can open it to the public.
Connye & I are prepared to follow this through to its completion. We do have resources, but most of them are not liquid at the moment. We had already planned to follow the GoFundMe campaign with a larger IndieGoGo campaign. If this campaign exceeds its goal it will reduce the funds we need through IndieGoGo. If by some miracle this GoFundMe campaign reached $75,000 to $85,000 we would not need to launch the IndieGoGo campaign.
Q - What is so special about your building that makes it historic.
A - The Chambers Building was built by Barzillai J. Chambers in 1880. Mr. Chambers was one of the two men considered to be the founding fathers of Cleburne. He was a figure of historical significance locally, for Texas, and nationally.
He was largely responsible for the railroad first coming to Cleburne. He was an important investor and part owner of one of Cleburne's first banks. He was responsible for several of the early commercial buildings in the city, including retail shops, offices, and an early hotel. Our records indicate that our building, constructed in 1880, is the only surviving building constructed by Chambers.
In addition to his local importance Mr Chambers was active in both state and national politics. After the Civil War he broke with the Democratic Party over their tight money policies and was one of the organizers and leading members of the Greenback Party, running on the national ticket as the Vice Presidential candidate in 1880.
Chambers was also active in the farm labor alliance movement, and through his efforts Texas' first labor union convention was held in Cleburne.
Our building has had modernization through the years adding electric lighting and plumbing, but its structure is still historically intact. It was listed as a qualifying historic structure in the survey by the Texas Historical Commission when Historic Downtown Cleburne received historic designation in 2018.
Q - You said we would become Published Page Insiders. What does that mean?
A - Well, until now it really hasn't meant much. But we will be announcing significant additional features for this program soon. This will include special invitations to meet authors, early announcements of upcoming books we will be offering, discounts and special product offers not available to the general public, and if you are interested, we will be recruiting an advisory committee which will meet several times a year to hear our plans going forth.
This group will be asked to offer suggestions and feedback, and will be able to get a behind the scenes look at the process of building a great bookshop. These will be a volunteer, unpaid positions composed of members of our Insiders who have asked to be included. We may not be able to accept everyone who volunteers immediately, but we will certainly try to keep everyone involved and informed.
Q - I didn't find the answer to my question here. What do I do now?
A - Send me a note either through Facebook or by email. My direct email address is firstname.lastname@example.org