For a time, independent bookstores succumbed to electronic reading devices and online services. Readers, like you, have refueled the desire for community focused bookstores. Due to these renewed interests, indie bookstores like ours are regaining popularity. Our mission is to encourage this energy by creating an all-inclusive space that serves as a home away from home for the community of Newark, New Jersey. As proud residents of Newark, our company's goal is to instill pride into our neighborhood by making everyone proud to call the place they work in, study in, and live in, their home.
While our primary focus is to encourage reading, The Shelf is more of a communal hub where visitors are given the chance to take part in something positive in their community. Every day that we're open we will be playing host to events like amateur nights, poetry readings, yoga cooldowns, and so much more! We want everyone to feel welcomed, feel seen, and most importantly, feel like family!
SO, WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?
While there are several other bookstores within Newark, these stores are discipline-specific and cater to niche markets of consumers within the community. Most of these stores are hybrid stores or are hard to access by the general public. Similarly, franchises like Barnes & Noble are not generally community-focused spaces, and the one in Newark is primarily for Rutgers students in need of college textbooks.
So where does that leave the rest of Newark? Our great city is in need of a serious overhaul! To give you some perspective on the magnitude of this problem, here are the demographics of Newark that are missing out on that #booklife:
*Information obtained from https://datausa.io/profile/geo/newark-nj/ and all affiliated academic institutions aforementioned*
HOW WILL THE SHELF ADDRESS THESE ISSUES?
At The Shelf, there is something for everyone. We want our neighbors to come together and engage in events that are tailored to the community as a whole. There's something exciting happening every day of the week, so why not join us for:
- The Art Walk - We're hoping to get artists from the Newark and New Jersey area together to showcase their art in our store! Join us for deep talks about color schemes and be the first to take part in our silent auction where artists can sell their art to you!
- College Night - There are several major academic institutions in our area and we want to represent them all! Students and Faculty will be given their own designated appreciation day at the beginning and end of the school semester where they get 10% off of their purchases!
- Indie book Author Appreciation Days - We want to give props where props are due and Independent Authors deserve to be recognized for all of their hard work! We intend to showcase their novels by providing them with the space to read a brief excerpt and sign copies of their books at our store.
- Poetry Readings - Our weekly Poetry Slam will give space to writers from Newark and abroad to come to share their work. Not a "writer" but still want to participate? Awesome! Everyone is welcome to join us. Our Poetry Slam Winner gets a prize at the end of the event.
- Seasonal Faves - Join us for signature delights every season as we create cool new shakes and treats for all to enjoy in our cafe.
- Yoga - Need to unwind after a stressful day? Join us for our bi-monthly yoga wind down and deep breathe your problems away. We will be hosting Mommy and Me sessions, Morning Time Stretches, Evening Wind Downs and Stress Relief for students during the **Sunday of finals week.
**Yoga is a Sunday event only, space will be limited so be sure to grab your spot while they're available!
These events are only a little TASTE of all of the fun we're going to be having! If you're interested in learning more we encourage you to join our newsletter!
We are also proud to say that our store is designed specifically to cater to your needs. Here are just a few examples of how we intend to carry out our mission of making your time with us as amazing as possible:
- Broad Range of Selections: Our primary focus is to provide a multi-faceted selection of books for our customers. Unlike our more established chain competitors, we desire to cater to book lovers vs. the mass market and will provide a personalized, meaningful shopping experience.
- Giving Back To Our Roots: We will offer local discounts to 'Friends of the Shelf' as an incentive to purchase books and merchandise.
- Management: Our management team has years of retail experience that allows us to sell to and serve customers in a much more sophisticated manner than our competitors. We are the readers, the writers, and the community who want a brick and mortar store that caters to our love of books and we intend to cultivate a communal space that feels like a home away from home.
WHY ARE YOUR SEEKING FUNDING?
So, by now you're probably wondering what exactly all of these funds are going to be used for. The funds we obtain from your donations will be used to do the following:
1. FIND OUR SPACE! Once our crowdfunding period ends, a large chunk of our accumulated funds will be going to signing a lease for our location and building out our space.
2. INVENTORY! We're going to need to keep our shelves stocked so that everyone can come in and check out all of the cool things we have to offer.
3. BRANDING & MERCH PRODUCTION! If you look to your right you'll see all of the cool rewards and incentives we have on offer for potential funders. We're proud to have collaborated with so many amazing artists, graphic designers, and editors to create all of the cool t-shirts, totes, and merch items! In order to continue working with our neighbors, and to continue supporting the arts, some of our funds will be allocated to help pay back all of the amazing people that have made our business come to life!
4. HIRING STAFF! Our employees deserve the best for their continued support and assistance, a portion of the funding will go toward paying them for their time.
5. TAXES & FEES! We're incredibly grateful to IFundWomen for giving women, especially women of color, a platform to promote their businesses. IFundWomen takes a small percentage of all funds we obtain as does PayPal.
6. SOCIAL MEDIA & ONLINE MARKETING! Our company is all about keeping up to date with posts online and maintaining a presence on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. We're going to need to use some of our funds in order to keep up appearances!
Want to see a visual breakdown of how we're using the funds we obtain? Check out the infographic down below!
Here is what we will need to get started!
MEET THE CEO!
Zianne Cuff, CEO & Founder is a recent college graduate, an avid book reader, and author. She has lived in the community for several years and has established relationships with Rutgers alumni, some of the local community members, and suppliers who share in her desire to give back to Newark. For a long time, she has longed for a public space where she could go and feel comfortable enough to stay and work in peace. She has created The Shelf with the intent of providing her community with a place where they can feel at home.