Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The owner of The Bookloft in Great Barrington has started a GoFundMe campaign to keep the shop afloat. He said shopping would help, too

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Giovanni Boivin

Giovanni Boivin is working to keep The Bookloft in Great Barrington afloat with a fundraising campaign to offset losses from a slow first quarter. He says shopping at the store, which carries a lot more than books, also would help support the shop.

GREAT BARRINGTON — A “drastic dip” in sales since the year began has a State Road bookstore asking for help — or for customers to come in and shop.

Seven days ago the owner of The Bookloft, Giovanni Boivin, announced that the store is struggling. Boivin started a fundraising campaign on GoFundMe with a goal of $100,000.

As of Monday, it has received almost $600 in donations.

What Boivin also wants is to remind people that independent booksellers are an important fixture in a community, and important “to the local economy.”

The Bookloft entrance

The Bookloft was founded in 1974 at Barrington Plaza. A new owner moved it to the State Road location in 2020. Giovanni Boivin, shown here, bought it in early 2023.

Boivin said the store also sells a lot more than books: Stationery, cards, games, puzzles and an assortment of other items.

The shop, Boivin added, is “looking to get people back in the shop shopping.”

Without a financial boost, the bookseller, going on its 50th year, could be in for trouble.

“I’m not sure what the future will be,” Boivin said.

The Bookloft

The Bookloft in Great Barrington moved to a renovated former doctor’s office off State Road in 2020. 

Eric and Evelyn Wilska, owners of Shaker Mill Books in West Stockbridge, founded The Bookloft in 1974 at the Barrington Plaza — near the Price Chopper.

They sold it to Pamela Pescosolido, who moved it in 2020 to a former doctor’s office on State Road, which she had renovated.

Boivin took over in late 2022, and his purchase was official in early 2023.

First quarter revenue numbers are not hitting typical sales, Boivin said, adding that the shift is probably a combination of broader economic factors and a shift in habits.

Boivin wants the community to know that, while the shop can’t compete with online retail giant Amazon in terms of shipping speeds, it can either match Amazon or come close.


The Bookloft in Great Barrington also ships and sells items directly from its website.

Books can be ordered off the shop’s website, Boivin added, and most books can be special ordered if they aren’t being stocked in the store.

The $100,000 goal is a stretch, Boivin said, but the number is comparable to other booksellers who found themselves in a similar jam — especially during the pandemic.

Amid the pandemic shutdowns of 2020, The Bookstore in Lenox raised $125,782 after initially beginning with a $60,000 GoFundMe goal. 

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