Help Save Lhooq Books, The Exrealism Nonprofit Project & The Owner/Creators/Curators Home!
Sean Christopher and his eclectic LHOOQ/Exrealism vintage bookstore, creative venue, coffee bar & nonprofit project are in a bind. One of Carlsbad’s most unique and interesting establishments needs your support. Lhooq Books and the Exrealism Project have become widely known as one of the most interesting things about Carlsbad, California. The shop has been written up in multiple publications like “Hidden San Diego” and “The San Diego Reader,” even noted in “the New York Times”, and is the kind of spot that grabs the attention of travel editors and art writers and gives our city real personality. But very recently, Sean was stunned to learn that he was being evicted (Attributed the the mass “No Fault” evictions given out in the thousands across California & previously uncheck gentrification/redevelopment/overdevelopment of a town who’s main attraction was it’s quaint beach town size & culture) after 12 years of building his business and investing in a location that due to lack of care and maintenance had become a local eyesore, yet once Sean leased the property he took the initiative and began turning it into a positive, cultural hub and community supporter.
It is important to note that Sean has not broken any contracts, leases, or agreements. The rent has always been paid on time for over a decade. Sean has always been told that he had approval for renovations and expansion and it was understood that he would be able to stay at this location for as long as he wanted, with “First Option to Buy.” So Sean invested in Lhooq Books and built something to be proud of with the knowledge that his opportunity to grow and expand were safe and he would always have the opportunity to buy the property before anyone else and preserve his business and investment, which has always been a proactive community outreach and noted as a gem of San Diego and also the headquarters of their nonprofit project.
And now, with only 60 days notice, all that he has worked for is in jeopardy. In 2015, LHOOQ experienced somewhat of a battle with the City of Carlsbad, and came out not only victorious, but also as a partner in bettering our city. We are hoping to take on this new battle with the same results. But we need your help!
As many of you know, Sean is a single dad, having raised his son here at this wonderful home and business. And he recently got married and has been spending all of his savings working through the legal immigration process for his European wife. In fact, in compliance with the immigration process on November 1st - Nov. 19th Sean will be overseas in his wife’s hometown where they were married…something his current landlord was completely aware of when he issued the eviction notice.
Sean and LHOOQ are going to need financial support in taking on this battle. The main priority will be to remain at the current location and fight the battle to stay. There will most likely be legal expenses…even working with a legal non-profit is not entirely free. We anticipate additional expenses to cover organizing protests, gain media attention for our plight, as well as business expenses/rent if the fight escalates and becomes time consuming. Worst case scenario: let’s jump ahead to the future if things don’t go the way we hope. There will be relocation costs including new security deposits and two months rent for both the new business location and home. Remember, Sean’s home and business are located on the same property and the 60 day notice to vacate addressed both addresses, his home of over a decade and the current LHOOQ location, so things could be changing drastically with very serious issues on the line.
The LHOOQ vintage books store, coffee bar, and Arts & culture venue, and Exrealism art/nonprofit project are the kind of gems we want to support in our community. Please consider putting your financial support behind this fight and give back to someone who has freely given so much to our lives.
by J. M.
(Note: since the initial launch of this campaign the first round of donations & massive community & national support, they got an amazing attorney and they were able to secure a 7 month extension! But that’s not much time & the clock is ticking!? Our goal now is to secure a new location to both protect the culture & history of their community and lead the way for all communities near & far! To create a space w/ a mission to not only protect, but give back to build a string base for the culture in their community. Connect with all communities in this Country and around the World).
Photo & rendition by Steven Levas