Womyn on the verge

Another one of Atlanta’s independent bookstores is on the brink going out of business. The text below is from a blast e-mail from the store.

Dear Charis Community,

Do you still need and want Charis to be here?

We hear shoppers and volunteers and community members say yes, Charis is needed and wanted, but the numbers are singing a different song; if business doesn’t pick up rapidly, WE WILL BE FORCED TO CLOSE.

Many of you are regular shoppers here, and for that we thank you- you have kept us alive. We ask that all of you, regardless of your Charis frequency, read this message and pass it along to others who might benefit from shopping at Charis and want us to stay alive.

Please take a moment and reflect upon what Charis has meant to you over the last 31 years of operation. For many it is a safe space, an oasis from the bible belt mentality, a community, a gathering place, the first place you turn to when you’re looking for books you are scared to ask for. For others it is simply a great spot for finding unique gift items, a place where you are an individual with tastes and needs rather than a dollar amount. It has been a space for finding voice, for speaking out, for celebrating diversity. Over these many years, Charis has been many things to many people, and much more than just another place to buy books.

Now imagine a world without Charis.

Unfortunately, that world is looking more and more realistic. In the face of corporate domination (both online and down the street), more and more independent businesses are being forced to close their doors. Don’t let that happen to Charis! Don’t let corporations determine what our neighborhoods and cultures look like! IF YOU WANT CHARIS TO BE HERE FOR ANOTHER GENERATION, THEN NOW IS THE TIME TO BUY BOOKS LIKE NEVER BEFORE! With gas prices on the rise, and the economy in a general state of crisis, it is more convenient than ever to succumb to one-stop shopping at superstores and online giants. That is why it is more important than ever to continue to support local, independent businesses. As cookie-cutter chains dot the globe, our culture is looking more and more homogenous and corporately controlled. If you want a future that looks different from corporate domination, different from massive deforestation and suburban sprawl, different from right-wing agenda censorship, then put your money where your heart is and live what you believe. SHOPPING AT LOCAL, INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Shop independent. Shop local. Shop feminist. Shop woman-owned. Shop outside the box. Shop Charis for ALL your reading needs! We believe that books can change lives. Make a difference with your holiday spending this season.

We welcome your creative ideas and suggestions-we want to survive and thrive!

In solidarity and with appreciation, Sara, Linda, Angela, Debby, Nicole, Kerrie

email: marketing@chariscircle.org
phone: 404.524.0304
web: http://www.charisbooksandmore.com

6 Comments so far

  1. Paulie [eatl/ga] (unregistered) on December 12th, 2005 @ 10:35 am

    We are hearing the same sentiments from the shops in the East Atlanta Village.

  2. Tony Mc (unregistered) on December 12th, 2005 @ 1:17 pm

    Wait a minute? When did they let women own their own businesses?

  3. Jessica (unregistered) on December 12th, 2005 @ 1:57 pm

    Y’know, there are different categories of guilt-tripping.

    A couple days ago I was listening to WCPE (a public-radio classical station based out of Durham, NC) over iTunes when they played a pledge bumper, talking about how much they spent on broadcasting online and how they relied on the “honor system” with their online listeners. It was monstrously effective, as my credit card can tell you.

    But that was a non-profit station. I have considerably less sympathy for for-profit stores that try to guilt people into shopping there. I miss Corner CD; I miss Batty’s Best; I miss Oxford and Oxford Too. But they were businesses, not charities.

    If I’m going to be making a point of favoring small businesses for Christmas shopping, they’ll be small businesses in New Orleans.

  4. kendall (unregistered) on December 12th, 2005 @ 3:13 pm

    We are living in a Capitalist society folks… shit like this happens.

    31 years is an awesome, very impressive run!

    The corporations are making money somehow — apparently they are catering to the needs (i.e. lower prices, better selection etc;) of the neighborhoods they infiltrate …if that wasn’t the case…Big Business would not be thriving.
    Now that gas prices (and everything else) is sky rocketing – money is tight. Why pay $15 for a first run novel, cd (insert item here) when a few blocks north/south/east/west of home, the Big Box can sell it to me for $10?
    Alot of people don’t have that extra money to re-invest in their communities right now…again – that’s the “joy” of a capitalist society. Sucks ass but it is , what it is!

  5. Andisheh Nouraee (unregistered) on December 12th, 2005 @ 4:10 pm

    A clarification.

    In my rush to pass along the news, I failed to clearly label the above text for what it is — an e-mail from the store. Those aren’t my words.

    Neverthless, it would indeed be somewhat sucky if yet another locally-owned, locally-operated, community-minded business went under because they couldn’t compete with national chains. Hence my post.

  6. Jessica (unregistered) on December 12th, 2005 @ 11:03 pm

    No, I understood it wasn’t your words. Apologies if my response didn’t make that clear.

    I guess because the plea is targeted more at returning than new customers, it doesn’t do a great job of explaining why new people should show, other than, “You hate Wal-Mart? Shop here.” (And if one really wanted to keep gas expenditures down, etc., wouldn’t one do all one’s shopping online?)

    (Note that one can shop at Charis online.)

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