These are unprecedented times in our lives, and the future is uncertain. Everyone is struggling in their own way. Small businesses are in trouble, trying in any creative way to survive. With your supportive online and phone orders, Bank Square Books and Savoy Bookshop & Café are doing their best to remain in business as your fiercely independent and locally owned bookstores, and we will continue to do this for as long as we are allowed to. We cannot adequately express how much we value and appreciate your support of the stores at this moment and over the years, nor can we imagine what Mystic or Westerly would be like without Bank Square Books and Savoy Bookshop & Café.
Independent booksellers are resilient and courageous, but few of us have the financial cushion, particularly at this time of year, to absorb a near-total loss of income. My biggest concern is where we are going to be when this COVID-19 crisis is over, and whether we will have the means to reopen. Our most passionate goal is to continue to provide a gathering place that is full of literary discovery, human interaction, safety and kindness, not to mention suggestions for a good book to read. In order to do this, we are asking for your help with immediate financial support.
We are launching this campaign to raise funds that we hope will enable us to continue doing business as we have been for over thirty years at Bank Square Books in downtown Mystic, a cornerstone of our town, and with the beautiful Savoy Bookshop & Café in Westerly where we have been open since 2016.
On March 16th, we furloughed over 30 staff, keeping only 4 to manage online orders, social media posts to keep our stores alive virtually, and our bookkeeper. They are working their tails off to keep books in your hands and keep us going despite our doors being locked. Whatever funds are raised will go to our payroll and utilities, liabilities, and rent to hopefully carry us through until we are able to fully reopen our doors. This Fundraiser will be the lifeline to help our stores survive and return as the community gathering places we have worked so hard to bring to our towns. SBA and State of Connecticut loans may be another source of help, and we have applied for them, but those programs appear to be oversubscribed already and we may not meet all of the criteria in any case.
When the COVID-19 crisis was looming in early March, and we were faced with the decision to close our stores to the public, Kelsy April, our rock star manager at Savoy Bookshop & Café and longtime employee, said “we made it through Super-storm Sandy, we can make it through the COVID-19 crisis.” When speaking recently to reporters, I am asked what the difference is between Sandy and this crisis. My response is this: “With Sandy, the tide came in and the tide went out. We could see exactly what we needed to do to reopen and about how long that would take.” Today, in this crisis, we have no idea about the future. We are trying our hardest to weather this new storm, but our stores are still “flooded” and we have no idea when the tide will recede.
Asking for your financial support with this Go Fund Me campaign is not easy for us. We are so grateful for any amount you can give. Other ways you can support us during this time are by sharing our campaign, giving our social media a follow, or by purchasing a gift card or book through our website. Again, we are so grateful for your support.
Thank you and please be well,
Bank Square Books /Savoy Bookshop & Café
- Chris Kerr
- MARGARET FAVRETTI
- Gay Myers
Organizer and beneficiary
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