As the coronavirus pandemic threatens small businesses across the United States, one small Massachusetts bookstore is facing possible closure as bills pile up, and peoples’ decreased spending means less and less earnings. But thankfully for The Bookstore on Housatonic Street, located in a small town in the Berkshires, its community is rallying to save the business, raising more than $100,000 in just a few weeks, nearly doubling the amount they needed to stay in business.
“The wolf is no longer at the door (though he is still in the woods),” The Bookstore’s owner Matthew Tannenbaum said, thanking his GoFundMe donors. “We can see the future.”
Tannenbaum, now 74, has owned The Bookstore since 1976, when he purchased the small business on April Fool’s Day, The Boston Globe reported. Since then, he has hosted poetry readings and wine nights, and sold copies of every kind of book created.
But as the pandemic changed business models across the country, The Bookstore saw business diminish. “Business is down, way down. Sales each week are what they used to be each day,” Tannenbaum said.
He explained that the government Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) dried out almost immediately and curbside book sales haven’t been nearly enough to “cover the day-to-day expenses like rent, payroll, utilities, insurance and all the other costs of doing business.”
Ever since asking for help through GoFundMe two weeks ago, the community support flooded in, even seeing generous donations from people who have never stepped foot inside The Bookstore.
Tannenbaum said the initial $60,000 will undo all debts from the spring and summer, and all additional support will help The Bookstore ride out the pandemic.