Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

City of San Francisco gives targeted business development grants to bookstores

-- "Eleven SF bookstores get cash assistance from city," Mission Local

I bought the books One Less Car and The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America at City Lights Bookstore.  One Less Car was recommended by a blog reader.

From the article:
Nearly a dozen local bookstores received a special gift from the city on Tuesday morning — $103,000 in total grant money to help them through a time when books can be delivered to one’s door at the click of a mouse.

And that’s exactly why the funding is so important, says Joaquin Torres, the director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “There’s nothing online that can recreate the experience of walking into a bookstore — the art you see on the walls, the performances that take place, the cultural conversations,” he said.

The city, in partnership with the nonprofit Working Solutions and the Small Business Development Center, awarded 11 bookstores grant money ...

The money is part of the Bookstore SF Program, a pet project of the late Mayor Ed Lee, aimed at funding bookstore “revitalizations” that emphasize their roles as social hubs rather than simply places to purchase reading material.

In addition to the funding, the bookstores will receive city services including technical assistance on marketing, human resource consulting, and help negotiating long-term leases.

According to OEWD, there are 57 independent bookstores in San Francisco that together generate more than $9.8 million in sales, create and retain more than 100 jobs, host more than 40 free community events each month, and have been in business for an average of 21 years.
A couple months back I mentioned a similar program in Beijing ("Cultural plans should have an element on culture-related retail"). And note after that I discovered that in the tourism and business marketing materials for the City of San Juan Capistrano, California, they position the nice "Friends of the Library" bookstore in the city's branch library as the city's bookstore, as they wouldn't otherwise have them.

I do think that there should be more targeted business development programs, like this one, focusing on business categories that are desired, rather than having programs being less targeted.

And for culture-based retail as discussed previously.

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