It is time for City Lit Books to close. City Lit Books will close on December 1st, 2020. Curbside pickup orders will stop on October 15th. Online orders can be placed through November 30.
Over eight years ago, the vision for City Lit Books was to provide a platform for facilitating conversations, supporting creativity, and collaborating to contribute to our community all within a setting of amazing books. To that end, we have hosted hundreds of author events, book clubs, Open Mics, and legendary Story Times. We have supported authors so local they walked to their book release events. We loved providing a space to host fundraisers and book drives for schools.
We have collaborated in dozens of off-site events all over the city in schools, churches, bars, temples, farmers markets, and libraries. We have donated hundreds of books to schools, shelters, and community organizations.
We’ve even had some celebrity: hosted rock stars, been featured on an episode of “Easy” on Netflix and were included in United Airlines Hemisphere’s article, “Three Perfect Days in Chicago”.
Most importantly, we have introduced thousands of books to our community that helped readers learn, laugh, cry, get inspired, be better citizens, plant more gardens, and, in general, experience joy.
Starting from an idea, the reality that emerged at City Lit exceeded all my expectations. However, our new “reality” these days means it is time to close.
I have chosen to operate this business through some pretty difficult times and barely breaking even because engaging with the community was so exciting and enjoyable every day. Now, in the time of the pandemic, we have been reduced to an order fulfillment business with precious little customer interaction. In spite of incredible community support, revenues have fallen dramatically. Supporting an order fulfillment center is simply not sustainable, financially or emotionally.
It is likely that there will be at least another nine months before we could get back to anything resembling business as usual, and I am unable to sustain the financial losses for that long.
City Lit will close on December 1. I am choosing to close in early December as I am very concerned about our ability to meet customer expectations during the holiday season this year due to staffing shortages, probable shipping delays, and possible book shortages from the publishers.
I am deeply grateful for the incredible support of so many who shared a passion for books and helped make City Lit become a destination and so much more than the original vision.
- Teresa Kirschbraun