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Independent Community Bookstore opening in St. Louis area

The Book House in St Louis has been a respected,  iconic, community bookstore for over 30 years, selling new, used, and unusual books in a beloved old Victorian house with knowledgeable, passionate, and experienced staff.  We have weathered the slings and arrows of an everchanging business in a tough economy, adapted and changed but never lost sight of the soul and heart of books and bookselling and the community we serve.   But now we are being forced to relocate because the landlord of our historic building (which we thought would be preserved forever) has sold the property to be torn down for development.  This summer we were given 90 days to move out and our carefully curated collection of over 250,000 books was suddenly homeless.

Our old location at Rock Hill
Our old location at Rock Hill
Front entrance
Front entrance
The old fiction room
The old fiction room

We have searched long and hard to find a new space that can still capture the friendly and historic atmosphere of our old house while giving us the opportunity to grow and expand and take our bookstore to a new level. Our new location at 7352 Manchester Road is in the heart of a wonderful community, surrounded by many other locally owned businesses in the special historic district off Maplewood Missouri. The new store will be almost 8000 sq feet (more than twice the size of our old location!)   with plenty of room to expand with special areas for local authors and new releases, a children's room, art and rare books room, extra space for book signings, events, book clubs and community programs. 

We are partnering  with many of the local organizations and non profits through hosted charity events. We have plans to open a cooperative coffee shop with one of the local vendors creating supported employment opportunities for Second Chapter Center clients with Developmental Disabilities. Our bookstore already collects used book donations to help fund these programs as well as the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition and the Childrens Home Society.  We also hope to work with The Turner Art Center and ArtWorks,(funding public art projects and work by local city youth) and other local artists to paint murals and help beautify the space.  We will also host events for StudioSTL (writing program for teens) and ALIVE (Women's Support and Shelter) .  And of course, bookclubs, booksigning and readings by local authors and writer's groups and much more!  We are currently hosting a Locally Grown Author Expo in two weeks at Schafly Bottleworks, a local brewery and restaurant right down the street from the new building.

We are proud participants in the annual World Book Night, with more book givers signing up every year.
We are proud participants in the annual World Book Night, with more book givers signing up every year.
World Book flash mob in 2012, by the Gateway Arch
World Book flash mob in 2012, by the Gateway Arch
Our store has close ties with several local charities and hosts many events.
Our store has close ties with several local charities and hosts many events.

But we need your help! The building is over 100 years old and has been vacant for almost 20 years. It was once a Newberry's department store and still has the old storefront (in serious disrepair) and original tin ceilings (now water damaged). There is fantastic potential for a beautiful space once its remodeled. However there is a LOT of work to do.  WE CANNOT OPEN THE STORE UNTIL IT MEETS BUILDING CODE.   Initial estimates are over $100,000 to renovate the space. We have a plan to build in stages.

Our new location in Maplewood
Our new location in Maplewood

Phase One (Which is now complete!!) is to get our inventory of over 200,000 books packed and moved to the new space,  and make the basement storage area and office building code compliant.  We are here, (and still recovering from moving so many boxes and fixtures)  but everything is in storage boxes and we can't put up bookshelves, unpack books,  or let customers in to browse until Phase two is complete. (Believe me -  the Maplewood Building Inspector is very firm about this).

Volunteers helping to move thousands and thousands of books
Volunteers helping to move thousands and thousands of books

Phase Two is to  remodel  the bare minimum to get the first 2000 Sq feet built out for retail and building code compliance so we can open up for business.  We had hoped to open by the first of November but everything is taking more time  and money than anticipated.  Work needed (to OPEN OUR DOORS)  includes:HVAC System , covering all walls and ceilings with fire resistant drywall, new lighting, replacement of plumbing and new bathrooms, new electrical wiring (and electric meter!), redoing stairs and store front.  We have a great team of contractors and designers to help us, but it will take a lot of time and money to get it done.

As you can see, there's still a lot of work to be done.
As you can see, there's still a lot of work to be done.

Phase Three  (to be done next year) includes the larger part of the space (an additional 4000 sq feet) which needs the most work including reinforcing floors, building another bathroom, back stairwell entrance, more lighting, and refurbishing historic ceiling and renovating the historic storefront , fixing up our event space, children's room, art and rare book areas, and the final finish and design work. 

Bookstores are the heart and soul of a community fostering readers and writers, imagination,, creativity and knowledge. We are the town square where people can gather and share what they are passionate about.  Books and bookstores are not a thing of the past!  We are just growing and changing. The world needs more bookstores!  The staff and I at The Book House have the passion and energy to make this happen! We have received enormous support and assistance from friends, customers, and the local community and businesses. We could not have made it this far without your generous support.   PLEASE  DONATE to our Kickstarter campaign online  or you may send a check to The Book House, 7352 Manchester Rd, Maplewood MO  63143.

Help us to Build YOUR Community Bookstore! 

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

We have faced many challenges to get this far. As mentioned above The Book House has been in business almost 30 years and though it has not made us rich we have successfully adapted and grown through many setbacks. This move is just the next step in our evolution. We have already done the first phase which seemed almost impossible at the beginning. Now we have the architectural plans and permits and a great team of contractors. It has been difficult to have everything in storage for weeks and not be able to run the store except for online sales. We have been in a holding pattern for a few weeks which is frustrating for our employees, customers and contractors, waiting on permits, etc. One of our biggest goals is to get a portion of the new space up and open for the holidays. The holiday season is a big portion of our sales and being closed during this time is a big setback for cash flow. All our energy is focused on getting the second phase done in time, but we are at the mercy of the contractors and the building inspector. It will take time. Even if we are unable to open for Christmas we have several events planned to bring in local authors and sell books and raise money for our store. So we are confident that even if it takes longer than anticipated we will be open as soon as possible.

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    A big hug (virtual or otherwise) and an " I got used at The Book House" stamp.

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    A great big thank you and a warm virtual hug

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    Limited edition Postcard of the original Book House

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    Limited edition Postcard of the original Book House Due to popular demand we have increased number of these available. They are going fast.

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    Personalized out of print book search. Does not include cost of book or shipping

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    A piece of the original Book House! We know you are as nostalgic as we are about the original 150 year old building. Since it is scheduled for demolition in December we have saved pieces of the wood, and floors, and other elements from the old Victiorian house and you can own a piece of history!!

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    Book House T-shirt and Postcard

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    Book House T shirt and postcard

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    Signed book by local author - choose from "Hollow Man" by Paul Hollis, "Baxter's Friends" by Ned Randle, or Lisa Boero's "Murder and Nerdy Girls Work Late" and others Limited quantities available

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    Used book grab bag. You choice the genre and we will select 3 to 5 books for you. Live dangerously . . .

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    A copy of A Gentle Madness Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books by Nicholas Basbanes

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    Professional Appraisal of up to 10 rare books. Includes research and documentation

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    Specially designed Book Bond worth $50 in books of your choice plus a great big thank you!

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    Signed first edition of Pat Conroy's new book The Death of Santini

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    A piece of the original Book House! We know you are as nostalgic as we are about the original 150 year old building. Since it is scheduled for demolition in December we have saved pieces and architectural elements from the old Victiorian house and you can own a piece of history!! At this level you may own a doorknob, door piece, stairpost, handmolded brick or other more intricate piece of the house

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    Box of Classic children's books. Including Peter Pan, Dr. Seuss, Alice and Wonderland and more!

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    VIP Card for 20% off book purchases for one year and admission to special VIP events

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    Book of the month club. Receive one new hardcover book every month for a year. Every month come pick out a book, or let us select one from our new releases for you.

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    An evening at The Book House. You or your group can hold an event including refreshments. We will help you promote your project or group. The space is yours for an evening!

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    Sponsor a bookshelf. You can " own" a bookshelf in the store! Choose a subject. Decide what to display and promote. Includes personalized plaque with your name.

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    Limited edition. Codex Seraphinianus created by the author and artist Luigi Serafini.

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    Complete set of The Great Books of the Western World. Beautifully bound set of 51 classic works from Plato to Shakespeare to Freud

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    Own an antique door or hand framed window from the original Book House. We know you are as nostalgic as we are about the original 150 year old building. Since it is scheduled for demolition in December we are saving architectural elements from the old Victiorian house and you can own a piece of history!!

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Funding period

- (30 days)