Since our initial communication on GoFundMe, we’ve been busy here at Womrath’s, building the foundation for future growth. The Bronxville Sprouts are now a dynamically active presence. Their array of educational classes for preschoolers has increased foot traffic and brought a wonderful new energy to the store. (See a list of their activities here: bronxvillesprouts.com). Our website (womrathbooks.com) is now easier to navigate and we’ve added several useful new offerings, such as gift cards and audiobooks, now available for purchase online. Our “Try Womrath First” program (free book for every five ordered) has increased special sales substantially. We’re about to open our mini-café, serving Keurig coffee and a variety of baked goods for customers who’d like some coffee and a little snack while they are perusing their favorite books. We’re also pleased to announce that we’ve brought a professional programmer on staff to plan our upcoming slate of author events and seasonal happenings, in addition to potential new loyalty programs, subscription services, and perhaps even a wide-ranging lecture series. We are extremely excited about the future.
Most promising, between this GoFundMe campaign and the generous response from our initial letter to the Friends of Womrath in Bronxville, we’ve raised $62,000 to date! We’re so thankful to those who are supporting us.
But even with all that encouraging news, we’re still $38,000 short of our fundraising goal. We need half of that to keep paying down our debt burden and build a small financial cushion against future shocks. With the other $19,000 we can extend our new flooring from the mini-café to the rest of the store, reveal the pressed tin ceiling above our current ugly one, and replace the unsightly fluorescent lighting with more attractive fixtures.
We are profoundly grateful to those of you who have already contributed to Womrath’s continued survival. Might you consider making an additional gift? And to those of you who have yet to participate, we hope you’ll consider helping us out now.
We know you share our devotion to Womrath’s as a cornerstone of our community. We’ve been here for 85 years. Please help us insure we continue for decades to come!
My name is Morin Bishop, and my wife Barbara and I are the owners of Womrath Bookshop, which has been a cornerstone of our community in Bronxville, New York, for 85 years. But today we are struggling to survive as we recover financially from the pandemic. So I’m asking for your help as we begin a series of essential revenue-generating store initiatives that will keep us going and growing into the future.
Barbara and I have developed a strategy and budget to put the shop on solid footing. With the help of Bronxville Mayor Mary Marvin and a core of supporters, we’ve formed a Friends of Womrath group that has already raised $50,000 towards our year-end goal of $150,000. We are so very grateful for all the support.
In her recent open letter to the community, Mayor Marvin wrote: “A village has many stores, all part of the fabric of a small downtown, but some represent more than just a business. They represent what a community wants to be. Personally, I cannot imagine our unique home without its bookstore. It says something about what we hold dear. The bookstore is iconic, a wonderful throwback, but in so many ways so is our one square mile and perhaps why we treasure it so.”
We are hoping that many of you share the mayor’s sentiments and will join the Friends of Womrath efforts by donating to this GoFundMe campaign.
A Brief History
Barbara and I are longtime Bronxville residents who come from the creative side of the publishing business—I’ve been a writer and editor my entire adult life, and Barbara has been a graphic designer—so when we heard that Womrath’s was for sale, we decided that owning and running the store would be a wonderful next challenge, not only doing something we knew we’d love, but also saving a Bronxville treasure in the process. We immediately went to work updating our inventory, displays and store layout to make it more contemporary and responsive to the community.
We also launched a website for online sales, grew a dormant Instagram account to almost 1,400 followers, and began developing plans for in-store events.
Unfortunately, the pandemic struck six months after we acquired Womrath’s, eliminating the opportunity for in-store programs and drastically reducing revenues. We have been struggling to recover from that grievous blow ever since, surviving only by taking on substantial debt. Today, while our sales have significantly improved over the same period in 2022, they are still not enough to cover our current expenses.
With the additional $100,000 to supplement the $50,000 already raised, we’ll be able to boost profitability and maintain our presence in Bronxville through the following:
• Launching an in-store café, increasing store traffic and creating a new revenue stream.
• Revitalizing our space by removing the drop ceiling to reveal the original pressed tin ceiling and skylight 10' above and installing more attractive, durable hardwood floors.
• Hiring a freelance professional to help drive traffic and sales—in-person and online—by planning and promoting in-store events, community partnerships, etc., as well as exploring customer loyalty and subscription service programs.
• Establishing a cash reserve to give us breathing room and enable us to pay down some of our current debt.
To ensure success now and in the future, our business plan calls for an increase in annual revenue of 15%. Based on similar café-in-store models, the café alone should conservatively generate 5% growth, leaving just 10% to be developed through the above investments.
Can you please help us get there, so we can continue to serve our neighbors and our community for years to come?
Mayor Marvin calls Womrath’s “a beloved institution,” adding, “I can’t think of a more worthy endeavor than ensuring we support one of the last independent bookstores that calls Bronxville home.”
If you agree, please click on the DONATE button and contribute however much you can.
Together—always together—we can do this!
Many, many thanks.