After weeks of hinting that despite its financial troubles, Outwrite would move to a new location, owner Philip Rafshoon said Thursday that the store is closed. Permanently.
On Tuesday, the iconic bookstore celebrated its “Last Tango” (view photos) an evening of author appearances and reflections from Rafshoon that included a City Council proclamation honoring him and the store. Rafshoon said again that the store would re-open in a new location even after the surprise announcement that the current location at 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue was closing on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, we have run out of time and money to make that transformation. We have examined and exhausted all possibilities for continuing this company given our financial situation,” Rafshoon said in a prepared statement.
On Jan. 18, Rafshoon said he expected Outwrite to move to a new location in mid-February, but wouldn’t offer a specific date or location.
Outwrite celebrated its 18th anniversary in early December with a big party at the store. In November, Rafshoon announced that financial struggles would force him to move the store to a new location and he launched a “Save Outwrite” campaign to raise funds to help pay for any move.
On Dec. 2, the Lloyd E. Russell Foundation kicked off the campaign with a $ 1,000 donation and a handful of fundraisers also contributed money for the campaign. Rafshoon did not say on Thursday if those funds have been spent or what will become of them.
The full statement from Rafshoon:
Dear Outwrite Community,
We regret to inform you that effective January 26, 2012, Outwrite Bookstore and Coffeehouse is closed for business. For over 18 years, we have been privileged to serve Atlanta residents and welcome visitors from across America and around the world. We sincerely thank you for your patronage.
As an independent bookstore and coffeehouse focused on the LGBT community, Outwrite has served as a symbol of strength and diversity in this city; and we have helped create a vibrant, pedestrian environment in Midtown. Our community has made an incredible amount of progress in the past 18 years and we are proud to have been part of that progress.
Since we shared our financial struggles with you nine months ago, we have been very encouraged by the strong show of support. We have listened to your insights and your desire for us to stay in business. So many of you have generously stepped up, shared your ideas and volunteered your time in an effort to transform Outwrite to meet the changing needs of our customers and our community.
Unfortunately, we have run out of time and money to make that transformation. We have examined and exhausted all possibilities for continuing this company given our financial situation.
All of us at Outwrite believe in the strength of our community and you will continue to see us working to strengthen and enrich it. While it is a challenging economy and the bookselling industry is rapidly evolving, there is still a need for neighborhoods with a strong LGBT presence and independent bookstores serving communities throughout the world.
Thanks to all of you who made Outwrite the special place it has been over the past 18 years. Thank you to all who came in on a regular basis, showing your commitment to supporting independent, local businesses. And thank you to all of the authors, poets, artists, musicians, volunteers, and activists, who have entertained, educated and energized us: your contributions have highlighted the strength, beauty, vitality, and creativity of our lives and changed the face of Atlanta. Thank you for making our community a better place.
UPDATE: Outwrite will file for bankruptcy, Rafshoon tells the GA Voice.