We come to you in these cold and trying times with news both tragic and hopeful. Alas, the past, present, and future are colliding for our small collective, and the times, well, they are a changin’.
After one year in our storefront space, the volunteers at the bloom recently found ourselves facing a “three-pronged Crisis”. Financial, communication, and structural issues came together simultaneously, nearly to our demise. As we came to the end of our fiscal year and our financial reserves were at their lowest, we were informed that our rent would be increasing anywhere from three to ten times the former rate, (part of a larger gentrification program happening on Jefferson ave). Volunteers scrambled to form a plan to make up the gap in funds, and many new folks became involved. However, after much hardship (and several long meetings), the collective has come to a consensus that we ought to close our doors, if only temporarily, and give ourselves and our members fair time to adequately plan, flesh out our mission, and whatever cash we might need so that we may relaunch the space with an open and sustainable organizational structure at some point in the future.
Volunteers are going to do their best to keep the bloom as operational as possible during our hiatus, even though the space itself will be closed. We plan to do this by continuing to meet on a regular basis (every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month) and keeping in touch with our membership via email and the website about the changes that are happening. So send us an email if you think there’s something we can do for you, or if you want to help.
We also want to take a moment to recognize our partners who made our past year on Jefferson Ave possible. Our Kitchen Table and the IWW have both shared the shop with us and helped us with rent at various points, which has gone a long way to taking some of the stress off of our volunteers. We thank you.
Perhaps we most need to thank Bartertown Diner and their generous worker-owners, who have shown this crusty bunch of volunteers more patience than we could ever expect from a landlord. This continues even in our final thirty days, as evidenced by the fact that if you need to return a book or DVD and no one is in the shop, Bartertown has a drop-box available inside the diner. Just ask one of their staff if you can leave our stuff there, and we’ll come pick it up.
Thanks Bartertown. You’re the best. We’re gunna miss you.
Many bloom volunteers will be taking these last days in February to pack up and clean the space before we have to be out on the first. You can help by bringing any of our materials you might have back as soon as possible; please no later than February 15th. The IWW will be holding regular open hours at the bloom from 6-9pm on Monday nights. Otherwise, look for our open sign and check the facebook page, as various activities, events, and work days are happening at 8 Jefferson before we close.
Stay close and stay warm, comrades. The Spring lies ahead.
Love & Rage,
The bloom collective