Avoid The Day Bookstore is a pop-up bookstore that began in July 2017. The mission of the bookstore pop-up is to involve the Rockaways in supporting literacy, community, and ultimately establish itself as a brick-and-mortar bookstore. In recent years, the once-troubled small bookstore business model has made a comeback, and flourished in supportive communities where people seek real connection rather than click the “purchase button” online.
The Rockaways are a unique community, strongly bonded but still underserved in many ways, and especially in the way of a bookstore. Avoid The Day (ATD) Bookstore pop-ups create a space where people from all parts of the peninsula can come together to read, connect, collaborate, and create. There is no place on the peninsula that fills this gap, and so far our feedback from the community has been: “Yes, a bookstore, we need a place like this!” We would like to be the ones who can fill that gap in this community.
To date, Avoid The Day has hosted nine pop-ups in the generously donated spaces of five local businesses. For six of these pop-ups, the bookstore had chosen local non-profits to donate a portion of its proceeds to. This is an important part of ATD’s concept, collaborating, as well as giving back to our local community. We currently have five more pop-up shops scheduled through August 2018, which all include collaboration with non-profits and local small businesses.
Through collaborating with local businesses, we have established ourselves in the community as a business eager to work with business owners to cross-promote and drive business in both directions. Through pairing with local non-profits, we have established a strong message that we care deeply for, and are committed to, the growth that expansion of the Rockaways and its businesses and residents. We have garnered a lot of attention in local media (NY-1, Rockaway Times, The Wave, Edible Queens) and support at the pop-ups. We began this journey less than a year ago and already have a strong following on social media and, more importantly, a lot of local support and encouragement — showing this is a business that’s necessary and important to the community.
At the Pop-Up Bookstores, we set up in an established local business and we promote frequently on social media and with posters in the neighborhood. Our setup includes new book inventory at each pop-up (about 100 books per pop-up), at least one community event (yoga, surf demonstration, children’s readings, screen-printing, author readings, etc.), and locally-made art, food, and apparel for sale. The pop-up bookshop itself is a work of art, with a Persian rug, plants, a gorgeous handmade tablecloth, poufs for people to sit on, and bookshelves repurposed from wooden crates. It truly is a space that makes people feel relaxed, engaged and ready to “avoid the day” with a book.
Find us on select dates this summer at Riis Park Beach Bazaar. For more information, check out: www.avoidtheday.org/pop-up.
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