Wondering how things are going at The Bookstore during the pandemic?
They’re not going well, my friends.
When I think of the many roads I took to become your bookseller here in Lenox, I cannot imagine who or what else I might have become. It’s always felt to me a perfect fit, and to judge from the loyalty you have shown through the years, you think so, too.
With that in mind I am appealing today for your help.
As busy as we are every day – and yes, we are thankful we’re busy - the fact is this: business is down, way down.
Sales each week are what they used to be each day.
Our well-known slogan says that The Bookstore has been Serving the Community Since Last Tuesday, but as many of you know I’ve actually been here since April 1, 1976, sitting at that front desk, happy to provide you with all those things that make our bookstore The Bookstore: the book you may not have known but fell in love with; the glass of wine at Get Lit; the poetry reading or book signing event that reminds you of the large presence in your life that is this small shop on Housatonic Street.
We belong to each other, you and I. If you live nearby we usually see you pretty regularly. If you’re a part-timer, or a summer renter, or a weekender or just an accidental visitor, chances are if you came through our door once, you’ve probably come back again and again.
In the old days I might have sold books to your parents or grandparents. Today I’m selling them, curbside, to you, to your children and grandchildren.
But if I want to continue, and if you want me to continue, I am going to need your help. The challenge is real and it is immediate. Government PPP was eaten up, just as it was supposed to be, by payroll and utilities early in the game.
Curbside revenue doesn’t begin to cover the day-to-day expenses like rent, payroll, utilities, insurance and all the other costs of doing business. Until we can safely open our doors again, and I just don’t know when that will be, I most humbly ask you to help me get through.
My aim, my pledge to you remains the same as it’s ever been - to offer the best in the world of books. But Covid-19 is more formidable than anything we’ve ever faced.
We’ve posted on our website over a hundred photos of the books on tables and shelves and will continue to do so until it’s safe for you to come in and browse. Safe for you, safe for me. I know you understand.
My predecessor started The Bookstore on a small loan from a family friend. That was 54 years ago. I took over ten years later, and with your help, your devotion, and your commitment, we have made The Bookstore into an institution worthy of its reputation. It’s yours as much as it is mine.
None of us would even want to imagine it no longer being here.
Our goal is to raise $60,000. That will wipe out the shortfall from this spring and summer, and allow us to continue “serving the community since last Tuesday”.
I thank you, as they say, madly, truly, deeply, for your support and look forward to many more years as your bookseller here at The Bookstore in Lenox. And don’t be shy about sharing this link; we can use all the help we can get.
Thanks for reading. Be well. Be safe
- Joseph Castelluccio
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