Gans, who has been selling rare and used books at 76 Front St. in DUMBO for a decade, said he hasn’t set a closing date yet, but is hoping to hold out until the end of May as he attempts to sell the rest of his inventory, which he’s marked down by 50 percent.
“I’m just stepping out of this game,” Gans told DNAinfo on Monday. “I’m moving on to the next thing, something that may provide for my children this time.”
The closing was first reported by Gothamist.
Gans first learned he owed his landlord, Two Trees Management, about $32,000 in commercial real estate taxes in 2014.
Gans said he agreed to pay the taxes when he first signed his lease in 2010 and the annual tax was set at $3,000, but Two Trees didn’t bill him until 2014, when the taxes had grown to $17,000 a year.
By spring 2015, Gans’ overall debt had grown to $40,000, so he started an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to try and save his business.
Although P.S. Bookshop managed to raise $13,692 in crowdfunding, Gans has still fallen behind on his payments after using some of the funds to retain a lawyer as he tried to work out a deal with Two Trees.
So far, Gans said he’s been able to pay off about $50,000 he owed through the end of 2015, but he’s fallen behind on rent since January and still owes this year’s taxes.
P.S. Bookshop’s lease runs through 2020 and is "well below" market-rate, according to a Two Trees spokesman who stressed that PowerHouse Books, which is also in a Two Trees-owned building in DUMBO,"is still thriving."
“Two Trees has always been committed to small, local retail and we enabled PS Bookshop to stay in DUMBO for many years at rents far below market rate," the Two Trees spokesman said in a statement.
"Unfortunately, they were still unable to make ends meet, so we look forward to bringing another great retailer to DUMBO that is consistent with the neighborhood feeling and will serve our commercial and residential tenants."
Gans said he’ll miss doing his weekly storytime sessions with neighborhood kids, which he started in 2006 when the store first opened on the corner of Front and Jay streets. He said the hardest part was getting used to doing without activities like these because “they’ve become a part of my life.”
“My store has roots in this neighborhood,” Gans said.
“I managed to survive selling used books in DUMBO for 10 years, which I guess is a huge achievement in itself, but at this point I’m trying to disassociate myself with a labor of 10 years, so obviously it isn’t easy.”
Gans still has a number of limited edition books in his inventory, including the 1912 Miniature Atlas of the Borough of Manhattan published by E. Belcher Hyde, and Francois Truffaut’s “The Films in My Life” with an inscription from the director to Lewis M. Allen, the producer of "Fahrenheit 451."
To find out more about P.S. Bookshop’s inventory, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718-222-3340.