‘Save Our Store’: Community Book Center hosts sale to fight potential closing
The Community Book Center is asking for the public’s support to continue its brick and mortar operation and is hosting a “Save Our Store” sale with discounted items this weekend to make more space for revenue.
Community Book Center, located at 2523 Bayou Road since 2003, has been in business through owner Vera Warren Williams for 34 years. Williams said the family-friendly and community gathering place has thrived with its lengthy collection of works published by authors of African descent because for a long time much attention was not brought to these kinds of publications.
“We accentuate the positive things about African-centered history and culture,” Williams said. “I think that’s primarily it, and people–particularly of African descent–feel validated and appreciated by knowing that their history and culture is recognized and respected.”
The center, which Williams said embraces people from all walks of life, is now in danger of closing. The last day of the sale takes place a week before another long established book store, Maple Street Book Shop, closes Uptown on June 17.
“I think that it’s a trend that’s happening,” Williams said. “It’s unfortunate, and I think that more importantly the community needs to recognize what’s happening, and it’s not isolated to book stores.”
Williams said she’s noticed how brick and mortar stores and even malls are becoming in danger of shutting down due to people doing more online shopping. She said citizens have to understand that stores and establishments are more than places where one goes to make a purchase, but where people can exchange and support one another.
“I think we need to recognize the difference in the space, and the community needs to determine whether these type of spaces are valuable to them,” Williams said. “If they don’t, they will continue to struggle till they die.”
According to Williams, Community Book Center’s goal of raising $100,000 and keeping business afloat is particularly more challenging during the summer months. The store’s operating costs are higher while their sales are lower until the end of student’s back-to-school period.
The “Save Our Store” sale will feature many discounted merchandise like books, jewelry, clothing and antiques that the book center has accumulated over the years. The products need to go in order to free up storage areas in the store and put these spaces back into commerce.
“It’s good stuff, it’s not like junk, so it can be recycled where other people can find more usefulness from it,” Williams said.
Another reason Community Book Center is holding the big weekend sale is to raise the funds to fix a roof leak caused by hurricane damage, an expense not covered by the store’s insurance company. The leak can cause a lot of structural damage if not repaired, such as attracting termites.
“We generally have not gone to the community to ask for support,” Williams said. “I think in the 34 years I can count on one hand the amount of times we’ve gone out to solicit for support.”
Community Book Center’s “Save Our Store” sale takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, June 9 and Saturday, June 10. Donations can be made directly to the store here.
Update: The Community Book Center’s sale was meant as a “staying in business” and roof repair sale, according to owner Vera Warren WIlliams.