Keep The Printed Garden Bookstore Alive

We are, indeed, living in unprecedented times.  The Covid-19 pandemic has all but brought the world to a complete standstill.  

In November 2015, after a twenty year career working as a bookseller for everyone from Barnes & Noble to the legendary Salt Lake City indie bookstore The King's English, my wife and I opened The Printed Garden, a 2,500 square foot, general interest bookstore in the historic Union Square Plaza in Sandy, Utah.  We adopted an "old-school" model of bookselling, taking the time to get to know everyone who visted our store, taking pride in offering a clean, organized, carefully curated collection of both new and used books representing every genre.

Over the last four years, our little bookshop slowly grew into our neighborhood.  Knowing that endeavors like ours take a fair amount of time to flourish, we went into a great deal of debt and put in a lot of extra hours to make our little store something really special.  The people who lived in our neighborhood kept returning to our store with different friends and relatives in tow, we built a lot of special relationships, made a ton of book recommendations, and earned top ratings on Google and Yelp, and the shop slowly, but steadily, continued to grow into something really special, and we were poised, in the opening months of 2020 (our fifth year) to move "into the black" for the first time.

Even at the outset, we never expected the store to make a lot of money.  I've still never met any wealthy booksellers . . . but I know a lot of happy ones, and a love of reading has always been at the center of our family's sense of identity.  Reading is the ultimate equalizer, enriching lives and empowering people of all economic backgrounds equally.

Our store has been closed to foot traffic for nearly a month now, on account of the Covid-19 outbreak, and our income has dropped precipitously.  We applied for the Payroll Protection Program that was to buoy up independently owned businesses, but it was announced this morning that the very same program has run out of money, and it is fairly certain that we can no longer depend upon it to help us weather this very difficult period of time, and our immediate expenses.  The publishers that we purchase from have proven themselves remarkable and compassionate partners, and have been really understanding about our bills.  Yet, all the same, the invoices are continuing to accumulate, the store's bills are beginning to compound, and our business accounts are dangerously low, will little available credit to draw on.

The amount of money we have set as our goal represents just a little bit less than three months of rent, salary, and utilities.  We'll have a glut of invoices to face down the road a bit, but right now, we're just worried about continuing to operate.  We've continued to serve our store regulars by way of curbside pick up and ship-to-home "safe distance" options, but still have the baseline bills hanging over our heads.

The friendships that we've developed by way of this business and the real human contact that we see under everything else means more to us than pretty much anything else.  If you've found this appeal, and can help, we're immensely grateful for any assistance or support that you can offer to help keep our little bookshop moving forward.  If you're not in a position to help support us, please stay safe and take care of your neighbors any way you're able.  Even a kind handwritten sign, a smile, or a surprise plate of cookies can raise the spirits more than you can imagine.


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Aaron Cance 
Sandy, UT
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