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St. Mark's Bookshop Reaches Funding Goal to Finance Move

By Serena Solomon | August 14, 2012 7:36pm

EAST VILLAGE — The struggling St. Mark's Bookshop reached its fundraising goal to allow the neighborhood fixture to move to a smaller location.

The bookstore, at 31 Third Ave., edged past its $23,000 goal Tuesday afternoon through hyper-local funding and coupon site Lucky Ant.  The money will allow St. Mark's to reposition itself by moving to a more affordable location within the neighborhood and refine its online presence.

The local favorite became a cause célèbre last year after a petition to save the shop from a rent increase garnered tens of thousands of supporters. The bookseller, which has been around for more than 35 years, ultimately received rent relief from landlord Cooper Union following the community's advocacy effort to save the shop.

But its co-owner Bob Contant recently told DNAinfo.com New York the shop was hoping to find an even cheaper space for about $10,000 a month, compared to its current rent of $17,500.

Contant could not immediately be reached for comment on the store's funding success.

Jonathan Moyal, the founder of Lucky Ant, said even though the goal had been reach the public could continue to donate to bolster the bookshop's future plans even more.

"St. Marks Bookshop is planning a move and $23,000 was the minimum they needed, but the more they raise the likelier it will be that they will get back on their feet and build a sustainable business," said Moyal. "Our hope is to surpass it by as much as we can and make sure St. Mark's Bookshop never has to raise money ever again."

Lucky Ant, which Moyal launched on the Lower East Side, helps small businesses bankroll projects in non-traditional ways, with customers and fans investing directly in small amounts.

Lucky Ant takes a portion of funding from each campaign it organizes, according to Moyal. The percentage is agreed upon project by project.

Those who give to St. Mark's campaign on Lucky Ant can receive anything from a $10 gift certificate for a donation of $10 to $500 for four tickets to the new store’s grand opening and 15 percent off purchases for a full year.

Those still interested in donating to St Mark's Lucky Ant campaign can do so on the website.