By Randi Bjornstad
It’s crunch time — again — for one of Eugene’s oldest independent bookstores, Tsunami Books.
Here’s what we wrote last summer about the crisis at Scott Landfield’s shop:
“Scott Landfield is understandably nervous.
When June 2017 becomes July, will he still be able to turn the key in the door at Tsunami Books at 2585 Willamette St., as he has done for the past 22 years?
Or will his venerable independent bookstore, with its book-lined back room fitted with a stage that has hosted concerts, lectures, workshops, book-signing parties, poetry readings, community forums — even weddings — be shut up for good?”
The problem was that Tsunami’s lease expired at the end of June 2017, and the building owner informed Landfield that as of July 1 the rent would double, “to about six figures a year,” Landfield said. Alternatively, the landlord was considering tearing down the building to build another mini-mall on the site, or renting it to a financially high-end tenant (pardon the pun) such as a marijuana dispensary, Landfield said then.
A crowd-funding pledge drive ensued. Landfield set a goal of covering five years’ worth of the rent increase, hoping that would earn him a five-year extension on his lease. Within a short time, he had pledges for $125,000, about half of what he needed.
But now the final deadline — Jan. 15, 2018 — looms, and the future looks about as bright as the gloomy weather of the December just past.
On New Year’s Day, Landfield posted this message on the Tsunami Facebook page:
“Tsunami Books now has 14 days to raise something in the neighborhood of $150,000+. Here are the numbers:
At this moment we have $141,629 in a money market account at Oregon Community Credit Union.
On top of that we have recently received (as-yet unfulfilled) Pledges for Loans, Bridge Loans and Gifts totalling another $75,000 (10k, 20k, 20k, 10k, 5k, & 10k).
People are dropping by the store every day fulfilling old Pledges, adding to them, and making new ones. My favorite High School English teacher just sent a check from Illinois. The tip bucket is at the counter.
We need $302,000 in an escrow account by January 15 to secure a New 10 Year Lease (with new roof, repaved parking lot, and food-cart hook-ups).”
He pledged to post daily from then on, and there was some good news on Jan. 2:
“UPDATE, 1-2-18: $11,453 came in the door today in the form of Loans and Gifts. A very kind individual offered to loan Tsunami a considerable amount for 9-12 months. Another very kind individual is now considering a Bridge Loan. Another $3000 Pledge has appeared. Someone else is looking into fast-tracking a special type of small business loan (This would require co-signers…any co-signers out there).
And, yes indeed, we sold a lot of books.”
Then there was Landfield’s post from Jan. 3:
“UPDATE, 1-3-18: $2350 came in the door today in the form of Loans, Gifts, and Advertising. A new $20,000 Pledge for a “Bridge Loan” has appeared. So far over 435 People have Pledged and Fulfilled. Probably thousands more have helped in other ways. People are all in the best of moods.”
All that is not enough, of course — a quick tally of the figures shows a total of just under $37,000 in new pledges and contributions of various kinds — and the countdown has Landfield as understandably nervous as he was last June.
But he’s trying to remain philosophical:
“Folks, my blood pressure is presently “normal”, health good for 64, mind in some ways (seemingly) better than it’s ever been.
(Until Jan. 15,) I’ll be working overtime as a Bookstore clerk, and as general manager of Tsunami Books, plus somehow have got to motivate the community to generate an extra $10,000 per day.
Either the money will be raised or that’s it for Tsunami.
(If Tsunami is not successful in this effort, all Pledges will be returned)
Please email me, Scott Landfield, at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions; or just drop by the store.
Thanks for your patience and understanding.
Let’s All Have a Really Good Year!”