Hi All — the following is a letter I posted on Facebook recently. I send it with an open heart to all our wonderful supporters and customers:

Dear breathe books customer,

I need your help.

Throughout the almost six years since I opened breathe books we’ve been quite successful. We attract authors and presenters from around the world, we have turned a profit every year since we opened, and we hired Jenn Northington as full-time manager late last year.  It is a good business. Classes are often full and people show a great interest in our programs, but the truth of the matter is that people are simply not buying as much as they used to.

Still we have had such wonderful success, but I am not immune to the current economic situation. It’s become increasingly difficult to keep cash flow at a level to cover operating costs. That money allows us to pay presenters to come to breathe, and to stock the great variety of books, music, gifts and other items on our shelves, drawing a diverse group of customers. Inventory is a major investment.

To address this we’re doing something that may sound counter-intuitive: we’re going to expand. I believe that I need to bring you more of what you want.  In order to adapt to this new reality, breathe books is launching an expansion program.

The expansion plans include diversification of products, the addition of new classes, and ultimately the purchase a beautiful space to hold more classes, workshops, concerts, cooking classes and more. Here is where we need your help.  In order to finance the new business plan, we are starting a community investment program, modeled after a successful program in Brooklyn where the community recently supported the creation of a new bookstore in their neighborhood.

So I’m asking you today to help breathe books thrive as a center of community and learning. You can either donate money, invest in the store and receive interest on your principal (2% – 4% – you choose your interest), or purchase gift cards that never expire but have a start date one-year from purchase. Rather than having money sit in a CD in a bank, every time you come to breathe you will actually see your money at work. This is not only an investment in breathe books, it’s an investment in our community.

Please let me know if you are interested in learning more.  I’d be happy to send you the promissory note, investor’s agreement, and a business disclosure form, per Maryland State law. And of course I’d be happy to talk to you about how we will use the money raised in order to create a deeper foundation for the bookstore and continue to offer classes, books, products and experiences that enrich us all.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this letter and for considering becoming a breathe books community investor!

With much love and gratitude,

Susan L. Weis

proprietress, breathe books, LLC