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Help us open Upshur Street Books - a place for literature, art, and big ideas in Washington, DC!
Help us open Upshur Street Books - a place for literature, art, and big ideas in Washington, DC!
369 backers pledged $20,015 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$20,015

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My name is Paul Ruppert and I am the founder of local business ventures Petworth Citizen, Crane & Turtle and the Warehouse Theater. Our next project is Upshur Street Books - a small, independent bookstore with a strong connection to the Petworth community.

Upshur Street Books will be the first new independent bookstore to open in Washington, DC in 10 years and we need your help to open the doors. With the support of the community, we believe that this venture can be a successful one. The growing dominance of online retailing, digital books and widespread closures have all increased awareness of the challenges of opening a bookstore. Despite these challenges, the passion for printed books and the fellowship they create in our communities lives on and now independent bookstores are making a comeback. 

With both popular titles and niche selections that focus on Washington’s arts and literary communities, Upshur Street Books will also stock indie publications, unique gift items and host a variety of events, such as readings, book club meetings, exhibitions and other events that are free and open to the public. With the funds raised on this platform, we can create a vibrant space that meets the needs of our community and attract visitors from afar.

Independent bookstores sit at the center of our creative and intellectual community and encourage well-reasoned discourse and the spread of new ideas. Stocking the shelves with books that you may not be able to find on the internet or through big box retailers with the help of knowledgeable and passionate staff is something that Upshur Street Books seeks to promote.


We need your help! Join with us to build a new community gathering place.

We want Upshur Street Books to become a central gathering place for the community and we need your help to do it. Your contribution will help us with build-out, acquiring the diverse stock for the store and getting the experienced staff that we need. To be successful, we need to generate support from all over Washington. Your participation will help us get noticed, attract support and gain momentum towards the opening date.

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About the Team:

Owner Paul Ruppert has been active in Washington's cultural and hospitality fields for over 20 years. His projects have included Warehouse Theater, Passenger & Columbia Room, Room 11, Crane & Turtle and Petworth Citizen.

Kristina Bilonick is project manager for Upshur Street Books. She has over 10 years of experience in arts and retail management and is owner and operator of Pleasant Plains Workshop, an arts collective, gallery, and retail outlet on Georgia Avenue.

Nick Pimentel is our Creative Director, in charge of all design elements. He was responsible for designing Room 11, Petworth Citizen and Crane & Turtle.

Other Ways You Can Help:

If you are unable to participate, please take a moment to pass this along to friends and help us get the word out! You can also volunteer to help stock shelves or with our grand opening festivities

You can contact us at: Paul@PetworthCitizen.com or Kristina@PetworthCitizen.com

Risks and challenges

Our biggest challenge is competition with online retail outlets. By creating an independent alternative with a focus on interesting programming and community connection, we believe we can create a viable business model that is sustainable and thrives.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    By donating $10, you'll get an Upshur Street Books Bookmark.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Tote-ally cool Upshur Street Books Tote Bag!

    With a $25 donation to our campaign, you will receive a limited edition Upshur Street Books reusable tote bag.

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    Limited 180 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Upshur Street Books T-shirt designed by our Creative Director, Nick Pimentel and hand-printed locally for a $50 donation.

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    Limited 79 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A signed copy of “ The Waiting Room” by local artist, Bill Crandall. Preview the book here: https://bill-crandall.squarespace.com/#/the-waiting-room/

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    Reward no longer available 12 backers
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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Get a copy of "The Punch Bowl: 75 Recipes Spanning Four Centuries of Wanton Revelry " by Petworth resident and Room 11 co-owner Daniel Searing, Jr.

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    Limited 19 backers
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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    A VIP ticket to our Grand Opening Event.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Kid's Crate!

    Receive a gift crate of childrens' books, toys, and other small treasures, curated by Upshur Street Books staff for a $250 donation.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Sponsor a bookshelf! Curate your own reading list for us to feature on your own shelf for one month. Alternatively, artists can use their shelf space to display artwork or have a mini-exhibition.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Launch your latest publication at Upshur Street Books followed by a reception at the Reading Room at Petworth Citizen for a $500 donation.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Host a private event for up to 20 guests at the bookstore with light fare from Petworth Citizen for a $1,000 donation.

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Funding period

- (30 days)