QUEENS — Forest Hills book lovers will get a chance to support their local Barnes & Noble, which is in danger of closing, during a free event this Sunday that will feature face painting for kids and live music.
During "Customer Appreciation Day," co-organized by local community members and held at the 70-00 Austin St. store, residents will arrange a "buy in,” where each patron buys a book from the store to show their support for the business, the organizers said.
The store, which has been open for more than two decades, may close next year if Barnes & Noble and the landlord can't reach an agreement over its lease, which expires in January.
“We want to show how much community driven support there is to have Barnes & Nobles stay open,” said one of the organizers, local historian Michael Perlman.
The event will include story time for kids as well as face painting and making balloon animals hosted by Skittles the Clown.
Local musicians Lou Michaels and Doug Leblang will perform and several restaurants, such as Knish Nosh and Red Pipe Organic Café, will provide free food, the organizers said.
There will also be raffles and free Barnes & Noble tote bags for the first 200 customers making a purchase that day.
David Deason, the vice president of development at Barnes & Noble, said in a statement Thursday that the company has been "in discussions with property owner for the past several months."
"We’ve expressed our desire to extend our lease in Forest Hills over the long term at existing lease terms," he said. "We are waiting to hear back from the property owner.”
The landlord, Muss Development, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
But local Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz posted last week on her Facebook page that she recently spoke with the property owners who informed her "that they will continue to work with Barnes and Noble in hopes of keeping them in their Austin Street property."
Last week, local residents launched an online petition addressed to Barnes & Noble, Muss Development and local elected officials, urging them to keep the store open.
By Thursday morning, the petition was signed by more than 4,400 people.
For more information about the event go here.