PROSPECT-LEFFERTS GARDENS — An independent bookstore set to open soon in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens is looking for investors to get its new location up and running.
The owners of the Greenlight Bookstore are hoping to open a 2,100-square-foot retail space at 626 Flatbush Ave. in the fall, they said, and will finance the store the same way they did at their original location in Fort Greene: with a community lending program.
Greenlight is asking interested local residents for loans of $1,000 or more to finance the new venture. Co-owners Jessica Stockton Bagnulo and Rebecca Fitting said they received 24 similar loans at their Fort Greene bookstore when it opened in 2009, which was a financial necessity, but also an opportunity to get the community involved in the shop, they said.
“People were emotionally and financially investing in the store,” said Fitting. “That felt like something that [Prospect]-Lefferts Gardens would respond really well to … and we’ve been really, really right about that.”
So far, the pair has already received about 100 inquiries from those interested in the community lending program at the new Flatbush Avenue location, raised about $80,000 and received commitments from about 30 people.
The Greenlight lending program promises to pay back each loan — with interest, between 2.5 and 4 percent — within five years of the opening date of the bookstore.
For those who want to support a local independent bookstore, it could be a better option for an investment than, say, a traditional CD, Fitting said.
“It’s not like you make a ton of money, but you get something in return for tying up your money for five years and you also get our employee discount for the life of your loan,” which is 30 percent off, she said.
Fitting and her staff think Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, in particular, is a good neighborhood for the lending program, given that the area is so “community-loyal,” and “very fiercely passionate about themselves,” she said.
Greenlight will set up two open house information sessions about the lending program in the neighborhood and in Fort Greene this summer. For more information about the program, email Stockton Bagnulo at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the store’s website.