The Strand posted sales of $ 170,550 last Saturday and Sunday, days after owner Nancy Bass Wyden asked for help on Facebook and Twitter. Like other companies, the independent bookstore is struggling to make ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic. It lost $ 316,000 in sales in September, she said.
“When I meet people, they always have a heartwarming story about the magical time they first found a book or had a first date on the beach. I felt like I knew the beach touched people, but I was absolutely overwhelmed. The community had to support us, “Wyden, the third-generation bookstore owner, told CNN.
Strand’s website crashed for the first time on Saturday due to overwhelming demand, she said. The bookstore received 25,000 orders this weekend alone, she said. The company typically receives around 300 web orders a day.
During the weekend, the lines were tense around the block as people patiently waited to visit the beach’s two locations in the East Village and the Upper West Side, and at one point more than 200 people were waiting to buy books, according to Wyden.
People ordered books, gift cards, gifts for the holidays, and subscription boxes. One person bought pizza for all of the staff while another offered to work for free. A stranger sent Wyden some lilies.
A Bronx woman bought 197 books and 21 people asked the beach to design their home libraries, she said.
“I feel like a tidal wave of love surrounds me,” said Wyden.
“Of course I’m so excited, but I want this to be sustainable and I am still very concerned. We need people who will keep ordering from us,” she added.
The Strand has been in business for nearly a century, boasts “18 Mile Books” and earns a die-hard following from both locals and tourists.
It was founded in 1927 and survived the Great Depression, World War II, big box stores, and e-commerce challengers. But the owner says the store – known for its seemingly endless inventory of used and rare items – could fall victim to the coronavirus.
“Strand revenues are down nearly 70% year over year. Although the PPP loan we received and our cash reserves allowed us to weather the losses of the past eight months, we are now at a turning point where our business is no longer sustainable, “said Wyden in a press release last week.
Though the bookstore has received a ton of support, Wyden says sales must stay strong in order for the store to stay open.
CNN’s Jay Croft contributed to this report.