3 November 11 | Chad W. Post

Earlier in the week things weren’t looking so good for St. Mark’s. They’ve been asking Cooper Union for a $5,000/month break in their rent (which is currently $22,500/month), but Cooper Union was using their own financial difficulties to explain why such a decrease was impossible.

Well, apparently they’ve split the difference, and according to this New York Times article, for the next year, the rent will be “only” $17,500/month and Cooper Union will forgive $7,000 of debt owed them.

The school will also provide student help with revising the store’s business plan. [. . .]

In the past year, the bookstore’s owners have reduced their staff through layoffs and have cut their own salaries in half, but it was not enough to offset losses from the poor economy and the rise in sales of electronic books. Mr. Contant said August was the store’s worst month in memory.

But since then, as the store owners went public with their losses, the neighborhood rallied in response. A group called the Cooper Square Committee started a petition to save the store, attracting 40,000 signatures. Business picked up by about 25 percent in September and October, Mr. McCoy said, leading him and Mr. Contant to believe they could continue with a smaller reduction in rent.

The owners have no plans to rehire staff. The store’s finances remain fragile, especially as the current sales levels recede, Mr. Contant said.


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