Tuesday, November 12, 2013

As Construction Costs Mount, Book House Owner Michelle Barron Launches Kickstarter

Posted By on Tue, Nov 12, 2013 at 6:00 AM

click to enlarge The Book House needs to raise more than $25,000 so it can go back to looking like this. - BOOK HOUSE
  • Book House
  • The Book House needs to raise more than $25,000 so it can go back to looking like this.

Michelle Barron hopes she gets to spend Black Friday at work because that would mean her store, the Book House, would finally be open and ready for customers.

All that stands in her way is money. Barron needs enough cash upfront to pay the contractors who must totally redo her firewalls, electrical, plumbing and floors before inspectors say she can open, and costs have doubled from her original estimate.

Barron took her plea for money to Kickstarter, where she's raised half of her $10,000 goal in just four days.

"It's been one expense after another after another," says Barron. "We need to raise between $25,000 and $50,000, but we made our goal $10,000 so we can be sure we hit it."

click to enlarge The Book House, under construction in Maplewood. - BOOK HOUSE
  • Book House
  • The Book House, under construction in Maplewood.

The bookstore was kicked out of its Rock Hill space last spring to make way for a storage facility, sending Barron into a frantic 90-day search for new digs. She's moving the store into a vacant storefront on Maplewood's main drag, but moving and construction costs are threatening to keep the store closed during the vital holiday shopping season.

See also: The Book House: Shop in Historic House Gets Eviction Notice, Storage Site in the Works

click to enlarge Get a stamp with a $2 donation to the Kickstarter campaign.
  • Get a stamp with a $2 donation to the Kickstarter campaign.

Barron originally estimated the project would cost $50,000. The move itself cost $15,000, and, Barron says, she has already spent $38,000 between the move, the construction and lost revenue from closing down.

"I just had no idea it was going to be this hard to pass the building codes," says Barron, who thinks she'll spend almost $100,000 before she can open her doors. "Our business plan was to be open by now. We knew we were getting a fixer-upper, but we thought we could fix one small piece of it and open up. Maplewood is making us fix the whole thing."

Barron says she's paying with money she had saved for her 27-year-old developmentally disabled daughter, who has cerebral palsy.

"I'm spending her retirement fund as well as mine," Barron says. "We have tried everything under the sun."

Find out how to get your very own bookshelf at the Book House after the jump.

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