BY GABE HERMAN | Left Bank Books, which closed in 2016 after a 25-year run in the West Village, has reopened in the neighborhood.
A soft opening was held on Sat., March 30, at its new location, 41 Perry St., between W. Fourth St. and Waverly Place.
When Left Bank Books closed three years ago, it was on Eighth Ave. between W. 12th and Jane Sts. The used-book shop moved into that location in 2010 after a rent increase at its previous spot a block away on W. Fourth St., between W. 12th and Bank Sts.
After the 2016 closing, co-owners Erik DuRon and Jess Kuronen continued the brand online, calling it Left Bank 2.0.
DuRon and Kuronen started out as employees at the bookstore before eventually becoming owners, and always had the idea someday to reopen in a physical location, DuRon told this paper.
DuRon said that when the previous traditional business model of selling used books failed, he and Kuronen regrouped with the ultimate goal of a new model with more curated and eclectic works with varying prices. The new shop has books for as little as $10 and up to $10,000, and everything in between.
They were able to build up the company online until they could gather the resources for a brick-and-mortar store.
“That gave us room to be creative and try to build the foundation of the next version of the shop,” DuRon said.
During their year and a half running an online bookstore, they went to book fairs and trade shows, increased social-media presence and built up mailing lists.
DuRon has a background in rare and antiquarian bookselling going back to the late 1990s. As their online business grew, he was able to tap into that network, and they also found an angel investor last summer.
DuRon said they’re very happy with the new location on Perry St.
“The space is everything we want,” he said. “It’s a small shop on a beautiful, historic residential street, in the heart of the old West Village.”
He added that their new spot is still close to commercial traffic on nearby bigger streets, where higher rents were unaffordable for the store.
“But we don’t necessarily want to be there,” DuRon said. “We want to be a hidden gem that’s not too difficult to find.”
DuRon said they hope to get business from the many creative professionals living in the area, who could use books in fields like photography, fashion, design, music and theater.
“We’ve maintained the old shop’s DNA,” he said. “We scaled things up and reversed the formula. It’s not so much used and rare, but rare and used.”
The shop is holding a series of open houses every Thursday in April from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The social gatherings will include drinks, snacks and music to celebrate the reopening.
And the shop plans to host events and exhibits going forward. DuRon said there are no concrete details yet but there will likely be things like small exhibits of collections or archives that have a cohesive theme.
DuRon said there has been a good reaction so far to the new version of the shop.
“We had a very strong opening weekend,” he said. “There’s a lot of interest and buzz. Hopefully, we can keep it going.”