LOWER EAST SIDE — Bluestockings Bookstore has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help update and renovate the 16-year-old shop.
The specialty bookshop — which focuses on feminist and activist works and hosts literary events — is hoping to raise $50,000 to remodel its storefront, expand its inventory and update its computer, software, sound and café equipment, according to its IndieGoGo page. So far, the shop has raised more than $3,400.
“Remodeling our storefront and upgrading our equipment are essential for ensuring Bluestockings will stay open for another five years,” Bluestockings wrote.
Co-owner Sarah Olle said she and the bookstore’s four other owners put off repairs because they were unsure if they could afford to stay at 172 Allen St. after their lease expired earlier this year. They decided to move forward with the work after signing a new, 5-year lease in June, she said.
But funding those jobs hasn’t been easy, Olle said. Bluestockings' staff volunteers its time and sales for 2015 have been one of the strongest in recent years so far, she said, but the shop hasn't earned enough for projects like replacing its torn-up awning or updating computers that run on old software, she said.
“The money that we’ve taken in, we use to run the space day to day and it doesn’t leave a lot of money lying around for these big, onetime projects,” Olle said.
Bluestockings' $9,000-a-month rent also went up about 22 percent — to approximately $11,000 a month — when the owners signed the new lease, she added. Information about the landlord was not immediately available.
“We think that the rent increases were proportional to what is happening around us but it’s still a challenge on a small business,” she said.
Bluestockings’ campaign will run for another 54 days, according to its website.
“We want to have a building that’s a comfortable space for people to hang out, have fun and to discuss literature and feminism,” Olle said. “We just need a little help to get there.”