After 44 years of business, countless celebrity guest appearances and thousands of loyal customers, Huntington village’s independent bookstore, Book Revue located on New York Avenue, will be closing its doors by Sept. 30.
Due to the pandemic, the well-known store had to shut down business for three months, but even when the owner Richard Klein was able to reopen, it struggled to get back on its feet again.
“We lost our events, where authors, politicians, celebrities and athletes would come in, and that was a very big part of our business, and we lost it,” he said. “It all came back very slowly, so we fell behind on the rent.”
According to Klein, he spoke with one of the landlords during the course of the pandemic asking to give the store a chance as the fall season approached, hoping business would pick back up.
“I told him I’d start paying in September for the rest of the year, not full rent but more than half, and if the fall came back with decent business then I’d start paying additional rent and paying back the debt,” he said. “He told me that sounded OK and would discuss it with his partners.”
Unfortunately, the person Klein spoke with died two months ago, leaving the son to take lead on most of the decision-making.
Despite having a payment plan worked out before the broker’s death, suddenly the remaining landlords demanded Klein pay the money he owed immediately.
“I gave them a starting proposal, and they didn’t give me anything back, telling me it was unacceptable, and that the money was needed now,” Klein said.
The building’s landlords did not respond with a comment before press time.
With outcries of disappointment and anger from local book shoppers, a GoFundMe was set up to attempt to save the beloved store but was later taken down.
Klein said even if the community was able to fundraise the debt money, the landlords were changing the rent to a 75% increase, which is impossible for the business to keep up with.
“I’m really sad because I love this place,” said Kathleen Willig, a Seaford resident. “There are no independent bookstores on Long Island — it’s all Barnes and Nobles. I really think independent bookstores are the charm of so many cities and states. It truly feels more personalized.”
Reminiscing on the impact Book Revue had on people’s lives while growing up around town, made regular customers disappointed to see it go.
“My mom used to bring me here and now I bring my daughter here, so to me it’s part of my childhood and I think it’s what holds the town together,” said Michele Lamonsoff, a Huntington resident.
While some customers said they will miss the comfort of reading unique novels, others who work in the field of education relied on the store for classroom work. Plainview resident and social studies teacher Nicole Scotto said her favorite part of Book Revue was the history section.
“As a social studies teacher, I always enjoyed browsing through Book Revue’s extensive collection of history books and finding used books on niche topics with the previous owners’ handwritten notes in the margins,” Scotto said.