I’m grateful for the support you’ve shown every step of the way, through every challenge we’ve faced - and the challenges have been many. With the help of countless people - authors, customers, publishers, the Vineyard community - we were able to rebuild after the devastating fire of 2008. It required a lot of work and the first of several moves - into the small space on Church Street while we rebuilt, then back into the old building at 44 Main Street which was given new life - new paint, new fixtures, new books. Soon after we reopened, however, our nation’s economy tanked. The lure of Amazon and e-books soared, and bookstores suffered. But we adapted. Then, in 2012, we found we were in the position of having to move again. We made a new home across the street at 35 Main Street and reopened Memorial Day weekend. We all - customers included! - adapted to the new space. We loved the open rustic feel, we loved the space, we loved being on one floor. We adjusted to the new landscape, both in the physical sense and in the bookselling world more generally, but we saw sales decline each year. We tweaked, we recalibrated, we brainstormed. We made it work. Then, in 2017, it became clear that we would have to move again. We found our new and current home just up the street at 23 Main Street. The entire staff - some of whom had only been with us a few weeks - worked so hard to pack up the old space, think about and prepare the new space, and reopen a different but charming and welcoming store just in time for summer. We love the big front windows, we love the creaky floors, we love the charming second floor, similar to our original home at 44 Main. And we love all the friends and neighbors who continue to support us in our new home. But still, sales have declined each year. Again, we’ve tweaked, we’ve recalibrated, we’ve thought and thought and worked and worked and positioned ourselves as best we could to adapt to declining sales. And then.
We have been closed to the public for about a month now. While we have every intention of reopening once it’s safe to do so, we know that this summer is going to be unlike any that any of us have ever seen. Like many businesses on the island, we rely on a robust summer season to carry us through the rest of the year. It’s what allows us to (barely) stay open through the winter and serve the year-round population, and it’s what enables us to stock our shelves with a world-class selection of books and to attract the caliber of authors we do for free events. And perhaps unlike bookstores in cities or bustling towns who have a reliable and steady flow of sales throughout the year, we don’t feel too hopeful that we’ll be able to make up lost ground once we’re safely on the other side of this. This closure and the road ahead are our biggest challenge yet, and I feel uncertain about how we’ll weather it. We have shortfalls every year during the slow winter months, and I have been able to bridge the gap when needed. That is no longer possible, this gap is too big, and so I am humbly asking you, our book loving community, to help us bridge that gap. Whether you are able to give $5 or $25 or $100 or more, please know that every single dollar is truly appreciated and will help us reopen when the time comes. I am so grateful to live on an island that appreciates the intrinsic value of an independent bookstore, an island that understands what a different community we would be without one. Thank you.
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