The final chapter has ended at Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse. It’s not a happy ending.
“We regret to inform you that effective January 26, 2012, Outwrite Bookstore and Coffeehouse is closed for business,” owner Philip Rafshoon said in an email. “For over 18 years, we have been privileged to serve Atlanta residents and welcome visitors from across America and around the world. We sincerely thank you for your patronage.”
The Midtown landmark sounded the alarm some time ago, alerting patrons to its financial woes and asking for help. While many people responded, even volunteering at the store to help keep its doors open, the efforts were unable to surmount Outwrite’s predicament.
“Unfortunately, we have run out of time and money to make that transformation,” Rafshoon wrote.
The store has hosted numerous author signings and other events through the years. Appearances by authors including RuPaul, Star Jones and CNN’s Don Lemon drew crowds, but special events weren’t able to sustain the business.
“As an independent bookstore and coffeehouse focused on the LGBT community, Outwrite has served as a symbol of strength and diversity in this city; and we have helped create a vibrant, pedestrian environment in Midtown,” Rafshoon wrote. “Our community has made an incredible amount of progress in the past 18 years and we are proud to have been part of that progress. All of us at Outwrite believe in the strength of our community and you will continue to see us working to strengthen and enrich it. While it is a challenging economy and the bookselling industry is rapidly evolving, there is still a need for neighborhoods with a strong LGBT presence and independent bookstores serving communities throughout the world.”
He ends on a grateful note:
“Thanks to all of you who made Outwrite the special place it has been over the past 18 years. Thank you to all who came in on a regular basis, showing your commitment to supporting independent, local businesses. And thank you to all of the authors, poets, artists, musicians, volunteers, and activists, who have entertained, educated and energized us: your contributions have highlighted the strength, beauty, vitality, and creativity of our lives and changed the face of Atlanta. Thank you for making our community a better place.”
- Jennifer Brett/The Buzzfirstname.lastname@example.org