Since the official announcement earlier this year, central Phoenix has been buzzing about a new Changing Hands Bookstore. The second location would bring the Valley's favorite indie bookseller to more of the masses and breathe new life into the otherwise stagnant area of Camelback Road and Third Avenue.
Located in the former Beef Eaters restaurant and slated to open in January, The Newton will also house The Lively Hood, a co-working space, and First Draft Book Bar -- because what pairs better with books than booze?
But construction has run into a snag -- a large snag totaling approximately $80,000. Via a mass message sent to the bookstore's e-mail list Monday morning, Changing Hands co-owner Gayle Shanks detailed the financial issues that arose while trying to open the second store and asked book-loving Phoenicians to donate in order to keep their dream alive.
The 17,227-square-foot multi-use building on 300 West Camelback was allegedly a risk investment for banks, Shanks said in her e-mail.
"Evidently books are not considered collateral," she writes. "Bookstores are risky ventures in the age of e-books, and ... we were hard-pressed to find a bank that would loan us the money we need to get this new venture up and running."
In a deeply personal letter, indicative of how community-oriented, friendly, and forthright the bookstore is, Shanks goes on to explain that even after she and her husband, Bobby, mortgaged their home, they still couldn't come up with the cash.
In an effort to have the project realized, Changing Hands has enlisted the help of friends and Phoenicians to organize a fundraising campaign using the crowd funding website indiegogo.com. Like the more widely known Kickstarter, indiegogo specializes in funding for small businesses in a variety of independent industries.
"Even if you don't live in the neighborhood, you understand the importance of books and community, and we have some wonderful rewards for book lovers everywhere," Shanks writes. "You can tell your friends that you helped build a bookstore!"
Monetary donations can range from $10 to $10,000 for both individual and corporate contributors, with varying incentives for each amount. The campaign began Sunday and as of midday Tuesday had raised just shy of $18,000.
Five T-shirt designs have been created, highlighting modern classics like Moby Dick ("who you calling dick?" the script says) and Bram Stoker's Dracula, with the tagline, "real vampires don't sparkle."
The T-shirts are part of packages for $30 and $54 donations, as well as for contributions of $124 or more.
Other gifts include greeting cards, tote bags, and -- for donations of $500, $1,000, and $1,500 -- tickets for events with authors and rock stars, who in the past have included Anne Rice, Ace Frehley, and Grumpy Cat.
For $10,000, "Master Builders" will receive a private event at the Book Bar, their name engraved into the Book Club Table and four Ultimate Classic Combo Packs.
Each donor will have his or her name published in I Built This Bookstore, a tribute book that will be on display at The Newton, as a public thank you for making the building possible.
If the goal is met, Changing Hands will receive the funding and should be able to proceed as scheduled in 2014. If the campaign falls short of the necessary eighty thousand, the bookstore will not get any money -- regardless of how much has already been raised.
Donations will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, December 24.
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