Mr B's Emporium in Bath has smashed its original crowdfunding target of £45,000 to expand its premises, with the total raised now exceeding £48,500. The generosity of its customers and the trade has "blown our book-addled minds", the shop said, and it has since set a 'stretch target' of £70,000 to help reduce its reliance on "conventional and expensive" bank funding still needed for the project.
Since October 9th, the shop has been crowdfunding to be able to create: a new "indoor woodland of books" for children, called The Wood Between the Words; a special area celebrating the crafts of writing and illustration available for authors and artists to hire, called The Imaginarium; and "a labyrinthine unashamedly bookish space for everyone".
Reaching the extended target of £70,000 will mean Mr B's is able to take on the second lease in the shop's adjacent premises and create the inspiring new spaces entirely through internal investment, campaign pledges and the shop's existing cash-flow facilities, it explained on its crowdfunding page.
The additional money will also allow for the funding of additional elements within the project, such as a new window display area, improved signage throughout the shop, additional mural work by local artist Alex Lucas and an upgrade to more durable and environmentally friendly materials for shelving, as well as "massively improving the efficiency of Mr B’s behind the scenes by making the very best of our much-needed new additional off-shop floor space in the basement of the new premises, where we will receive books, package books for dispatch and look after our customer orders".
Speaking to The Bookseller, owner Nick Bottomley, also BA president, said he had been "completely surprised" by the speed with which pledges had rolled in to support the shop's expansion plans.
"Customers have been embracing the quirkiness of it and we've getting a lot of good feedback; it's gone amazingly," said Bottomley. "When we first started the crowdfunder, we weren't putting the whole project's cost as a target, we're still not. We weren't sure how many people would chip in, so to reach the original target in 10 days, we were completely surprised, it's incredible. There's been so much warmth and support shown, and if we can carry on and add a few more elements to it, and if we can possibly do this using more rewarded community funding than traditional bank funding, all the better for everyone."
Rewards in return for donations include, at the lower end of the scale, the chance to have your name added to the shop's "supporters’ ceiling" and thank you T-shirts, right up to percentage discounts off all future titles purchased from the shop and the offer for Mr B's to host a candlelit book group evening for 10 people with bubbly and pizza and staff on hand to participate in the discussions.
With two weeks still to go, the deadline for pledges is 5th November 2018.