Earlier this year, Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, New York, launched the Community Lenders program to raise capital for a new store location, set to open this fall in the neighborhood of Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Since then, 55 supporters have come forward to offer loans to Greenlight Bookstore, in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $30,000; in total, more than $150,000 has been raised.
When Greenlight Bookstore opened in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, in 2009, the Community Lenders program provided much of the store’s start-up capital and solidified its presence among many in the community who contributed.
“In revitalizing the Community Lender program, we wanted to give people who live in Prospect Lefferts Gardens the same opportunity to invest in themselves and their community that they had in Fort Greene, because Prospect Lefferts Gardens is a neighborhood where residents care fiercely about their community,” said Rebecca Fitting, who owns Greenlight Bookstore with Jessica Stockton Bagnulo.
“The overwhelmingly positive result has been a beautiful testament to this neighborhood, and it just further underscores that Prospect Lefferts Gardens is exactly the right location for our second store,” she added.
Greenlight’s Community Lenders program invites neighborhood residents, friends, and family to offer loans of $1,000 or more to the bookstore, which then repays the loans, with interest, over the course of five years, starting on the first anniversary of the store’s opening date.
During the life of the loan, lenders get a 30 percent discount, the same as the store’s employees, online or at the Fort Greene or Prospect Lefferts Gardens locations.
The number of individual loans received for the Prospect Lefferts Garden store is double what the owners saw for Greenlight’s first location. Fundraising is still underway, and Fitting and Stockton Bagnulo expect to exceed loans of $200,000 when the program deadline arrives on June 1.
Greenlight’s new 2,100-square-foot location will open this fall at 626 Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Learn more about the Community Lenders program here.