We'd like to share excellent news from Kate Rattenborg, owner and founder of Dragonfly Books in Decorah, IA. (The above picture is courtesy of Driftless Magazine.) Kate recently told us about the beneficial changes of buying the building her bookstore is located in. Congratulations, Kate!
"I don't think there is anything scarier than a bookseller facing losing their lease. Since I opened Dragonfly Books five years ago, it seems like I've either read of or spoken with numerous shops/owners that have had to change their business plans due to the whims of a landlord.
This past summer, my landlord talked with me about his desire to sell the building I've been renting. Over the years, we've had some discussions about long-range plans for the building, and I knew that at some point I would need to decide if purchasing the building would be both feasible and the appropriate decision to make. After much thought and negotiation, I closed on the building in mid-November. Whoa! I'm now the proud owner (with assistance from my local bank) of a two-story, 1894 brick building located in the middle of historic downtown Decorah, Iowa. Our college-town community of 8,000, in the heart of rural northeast Iowa, is extremely supportive of shopping locally, and the security of knowing I'll be able to stay in my prime location is wonderful.
Why purchase, other than it gives me control over the use of the building? First, there are some financial benefits to ownership. Second, I now have access to a bit more space, including an apartment on the second level. The rental income from the apartment covers the higher financial costs of owning the building, such as increased liability insurance costs and property taxes. There is also an additional 800 square feet available on the main level, that can, after major renovations in the next few years, provide the store with staff space and/or a dedicated event space. I'm most excited about the opportunity to have the additional space for events! As much as I want to do a complete remodel of this back room space *immediately*, doing so will be a future project, as I don't want to get overextended.
If you find yourself in the vicinity, stop on in!"