“The lease has a few months left on it and so we have to work quickly to sell everything we can and raise money to get to a new location,” he said.
Rafshoon announced this morning the store would close at its current location in the next few months. He said he had no definitive date when the store would close at the Midtown spot — considered the gayest corner in Atlanta — where it has been located for 15 years.
Rafshoon has been public about the store’s financial woes including being behind on rent. In May he sent out a letter to the community seeking financial support and held a fundraiser in August.
Plans are to be at 10th and Piedmont through the holiday season “unless we find a new space,” Rafshoon said.
A Dec. 3 party celebrating the store’s 18th anniversary will take place at the current Outwrite location.
“We’ve been working since May on trying to look at different plans to go forward and make it a venture to last into future,” Rafshoon said of the iconic LGBT bookstore.
“Every plan we’ve looked at says we’ve got to raise revenue significantly, up to doubling it, and cut expenses. We’ve been pretty good at strategizing different things that could work,” he said.
Rafshoon said the store has “cut to the bone” to try to save money. An immediate cut effective today — the store will no longer sell sandwiches.
“The rent needs to go down to maybe half of what it is, while at the same time the lease is over in a few months. The fact is Outwrite doesn’t own the building. It’s impossible to ask the landlord to reduce rent by half at this desirable location,” he added.
Rafshoon declined to disclose how much rent Outwrite pays. He did say that the store was a “couple of months” behind on rent.
“Any model we look at states we have to find a different location. And that’s tough because we love this location and the community loves this location,” he added.
Soon, “For Lease” signs will be going up at Outwrite and Rafshoon said he wanted to inform the employees and the community today to let people know what was happening.
Rafshoon also said he knew “definitively” that the store would be closing at 10th and Piedmont a couple weeks ago.
“We wanted to get the word out before the sign went up so that our people knew what was going on and everyone would know that we are actively looking for a new location,” he said.
“We need people to come in and take advantage of the sale. We need people to shop and support us. We’ve been in this location 15 years and helped this neighborhood grow. With any luck we will find another location and help that neighborhood, that corner, that location grow and thrive,” Rafshoon added.
Miranda Jacobus, who has worked at Outwrite for two years, said she was a “little surprised” at the news this morning and hopes the store will find a new location in Midtown.
“We all love that we are at the corner of gay and gay but will have the same merchandise, the same people, the same community base,” she said.
“We’ll make it,” she added. “Home is where the heart is.”
Rafshoon said he has looked at some other locations but is still seeking a new home.
“This has been a home to our community for a long time. I work here every day. There are other bookstores that have moved. We moved once and didn’t think that was possible,” he said. “There are opportunities out there.”