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Old Renton Book Exchange facing hard times
Renton’s only bookstore is six months behind on rent and facing closure if things don’t turn around soon.
Dacia Hanson, owner of the Old Renton Book Exchange, is asking for help as she scrambles to find ways to make the store profitable. Hanson has set up a page on gofundme.com to help raise money. The goal is to raise $15,000 in the next 60 days.
So far, just over a thousand dollars have been raised in four days on the site, as of Wednesday. Hanson is also closing the store on Mondays to go work part time at Luther’s Table down the street.
She’s received a positive response from the public since posting on the store’s Facebook page about the store’s hardship. Initially she was concerned that her “plea” for money and support would be viewed as unprofessional, but said that feeling has dissipated.
“It was a risk asking people to help out, but it’s one I’m glad I took,” Hanson said.
Business has picked up since she her posts about the store, which have served to raise awareness about her plight. Hanson isn’t mad at the City of Renton or anyone else for the lack of foot traffic downtown, but she does say she’s become disenchanted with the Renton Chamber of Commerce. She think’s the membership fees for events and activities are “counterintuitive” to encouraging small businesses.
“I”m more frustrated with the fact that I feel like this downtown Renton renaissance that has just been heretofore happening in fits and starts, for like the last 15 years, is just not happening,” Hanson said. “It’s slogging, you know. We have so many empty storefronts. It’s just depressing.”
Despite it all, Hanson remains hopeful things will turn around for the Old Renton Book Exchange.
“Ultimately, I wouldn’t be doing any of this if I didn’t have a positive outlook about what our future is for here,” she said. “I don’t want to give up; I love it here in Renton and I love the spot here. I love the community that we’re a part of; I just wish we had more people in it.”
Activities at the store continue, with a clothing swap and craft event on Jan. 19, a sale planned for Jan. 21 to Jan. 25 and a Sardonic Salon, a literary night of tomfoolery and cocktails, planned in Feb. A burlesque event for those 21 and up is schedule for April 12.
For more information, visit the bookstore’s website at www.oldrentonbooks.com.