By: Ian Maikisch
A local, independent bookstore in downtown Gainesville is trying to fight back against closing its doors for good.
Third House Books, on 113 N. Main St., launched a Go Fund Me campaign on Aug. 25 to combat the 30 percent increase in the store’s rent that goes into effect in November. The store currently pays $800 per month in rent and is expecting that number to increase to $1,100, according to partner and co-owner Heather Halak.
In one month the campaign entitled, “Keep a Community Space Alive,” has raised $2,189 of its $10,000 goal. The campaign is not scheduled to end until the entire goal is met, according to Halak.
“All the love and support we’ve received so far have been really inspiring,” she said. “I definitely cried on the first day when I saw all the donations come in. It’s really touching to see how many people care about this space.”
Halak said the proceeds from the campaign will go towards expenses like their rising rent, ordering coffee and new books.
Third House Book’s doors opened on Oct. 28, 2016 before the presidential election in order to offer the people of Gainesville a safe place to gather and discuss their experiences and ideas.
The day after the election, the store gave away free coffee in an attempt to give people a space to feel comfortable after learning the results, according to Halak.
“I think books provide a solace whereas I don’t think a lot of other things can,” she said. “Also having other friends go through awful things has made me more aware of people who need kindness and compassion.”
Each title is personally curated by the partners who own and work at the store. They try to pick books that they think the community will be interested in or books that they think are important stories for the community to hear. One of the titles Halak recommends is “Tranny” by Laura Jane Grace, the singer of Against Me!
The store also carries a variety of work from local authors and publishers. They try to have every local author’s book in stock.
“We are really about having women and women of color and people of color. We are all about having their titles here,” she said.
The organizers and owners of Third House Books pride themselves in being involved in the downtown community through events, talks and gatherings. The store hosts a monthly podcast called “The Third House Podcast” and individuals from the community are encouraged to participate. The podcast covers topics such as mental health, politics and things that are going on in the community.
One of Halak’s favorite episodes of the podcast is “Instinct & Intuition,” where she discusses how an average person might ignore basic things they pick up on in everyday life for the sake of being logical, even though their intuition might be spot on.
The store also hosts a monthly concert series called “Note Book Sessions,” where attendees can see live music and have free drinks and food with the price of admission.
The concert series has hosted local bands such as Wax Wings and Matthew Fowler, as well as acts from out of town like Kylie Odetta from Greenville, South Carolina.
“It’s kind of like a get-together with your friends,” she said. “It’s a really tiny and intimate vibe.”
Halak says if the store can meet its fundraising goals, she hopes to provide its customers with more titles and a wider selection. The store currently offers around 100 titles and would like to offer 100 more.
“It’s an establishment whose intentions are nothing but building a community around appreciation for culture,” community member Kevin Miller said.
* You can support the Third House Books’ Go Fund Me campaign here to keep this awesome downtown spot alive for everyone to enjoy.