Firstly, hello! I'm Michael.
In 2014 I ran a very succesful Crowdfunding campaign that helped me realise my desire to open a 2nd hand bookshop. It was a fantastic experience that showed the people of Coventry and further afield believed in me and my vision. Fast forward two and a half years and we've become pretty popular, and now have the opportunity to expand!
Above: The Market Hall entrance, currently have 1 door but will have the unit next to us too.
Our neighbour has vacated and so the shop next door is empty. The guys who run Fargo Village (where we're based) appraoched me to see if I'd like to take it on and so, here we are! We would essentially double in size from 63 sq metres to 120!
Above: Julia Stagg book signing in April this year
Over the past two years, and especially this year, our music nights Comfy & Acoustic have continuously sold out, and our Poetry nights have started to gain a really popular crowd too. Often we have to turn people away and so to have the extra room to accomodate more would be fantastic for both the shop, the artists/musicians/poets/authors and also the audience. But there's also another reason for growing.
Above: Comfy & Acoustic has become a must-see event. 10 of 12 this year have sold out!
I purchase our home made cakes from The Rustic Rose Cake Company and Crumbs Cakes. Ali who IS Crumbs Cakes also works here and between us we've noticed there's not a great deal of basic but really tasty food here at Fargo. There's a great Caribbean place, wonderful vegan food, a fab brewery and an American diner, but the basic family lunch place seems to be missing. So, well, we're going to dive into that! We've prepared a really great menu of jacket potatos, paninis, soups and a few other bits. Nothing fancy (I can basically do toast). We even won Best Cafe in Coventry/Warwickshire from What's On Magazine in March this year, so we need to BE a cafe now.
We're aiming for Comfy basic homely food. It seems a natural progression from where we are now.
I'm excited, terrified, nervous, giddy and worried!
Above: Just one of our regular groups. Knit In Sit In here every Friday
It feels almost like an even bigger task than actually opening the shop in the first place as I know it works now, but if I expand and it goes wrong then I've ruined it all. That's kind of where you guys come in. To kick start it I'm looking at around £10000 to reopen. It seems a lot. It IS a lot, but I want to break it down to show you where it'll go:
1. £4000 - New electrics/water. Yes, it really will cost this. Shocked me too.
2. £3000 - New floor. Our previous floor was £1500 so you know, double it!
3. £2500 - New kitchen/counter/more book cases/tables etc.
4. £500 - Marketing. We do ALL our marketing on social media so an extra kick with flyers would be great.
Above: Queing up to meet author Tom Cox and get books signed, at our Literature festival in Sept 16.
It might be a case that we raise half of it, but that means we'll still be able to have electrics, which is always good. But we really do need the full whack to make it a success. Another thing. It's happening soon. May 27th actually. That's when we'll close. We plan to open sometime the week starting 12th June. So that's only 2 weeks of renovation which is super tight. We have so much booked in at the shop that it's pretty much the only window for this until December.
Above: Retro Game Night playing Duck Hunt!
The extra room, apart from being able to accomodate more people, will also accomodate more books! We stock anything and everything, all 2nd-hand, so will be able to keep even more on the shelves.
So in summery: Loads more books, lovely home made food (not just cakes!), alcohol (did I mention we're licensed!), higher capacity, able to attract higher profile acts (We've already had Mark Morriss, Kathryn Williams, Tom McRae and over 100 more) and open 7 days a week.
Above: Touch FM reporting live from the shop
If you like my vision, and can spare some money to help out, please pledge. We're fully independent and live or die by your support. Find out more about the shop at www.thebigcomfybookshop.co.uk and please follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!