PowerHouse Books, one of Brooklyn’s most-loved independent bookstores, is moving from its enormous 37 Main Street location to a new, smaller home in February. But fear not for their finances — the publisher/bookshop isn’t downsizing due to economic troubles. Their lease is up. And so are retail rents.
While more and more independent bookstores have shuttered across the country, literature-loving Brooklyn continues to buck the trend.
Over the past decade, a number of indie bookstores have popped up in the borough, including powerHouse and P.S. Bookshop in Dumbo, Greenlight Books in Fort Greene, Molasses Books in Bushwick, Hullabaloo Books in Crown Heights and more.
“We’ve been here since 2006 and during these 10 years we had hurricanes, we’ve had fires, we’ve had recessions,” powerHouse Founder Daniel Power told us. The publisher and bookstore has not only survived those struggles, it has flourished.
Daniel Power established powerHouse Books as an independent publishing house in Manhattan in 1995. The growing company moved to Dumbo in 2006 — the very year that Dumbo got it’s “trendy” label — and opened the powerHouse Arena bookstore and event space.
Inside powerHouse Books
PowerHouse’s current location is huge — 10,200 square feet of bookstore, lounge, and offices in the heart of one of Brooklyn’s priciest neighborhoods. A recent report found that Dumbo’s average retail rent is $107 per square foot, and Dumbo office space is some of the most expensive in the borough.
Daniel Power told us that developer and building owner Two Trees has grand new plans for the 37 Main Street space — which includes 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and over 175 feet of glass frontage — and is practically kitty corner from the soon-to-be-shopping-mall Empire Stores.
Two Trees’ Jed Walentas told us, “PowerHouse Books has contributed to the vibrancy of Dumbo and has provided a literary sanctuary in a city that has few left. It is a terrific neighborhood asset and it will be a fixture in the neighborhood for years to come.”
Daniel Power mentioned that Two Trees worked to help keep powerHouse in the ‘hood, even finding them the new space two blocks away.
The future powerHouse Books at 32 Adams Street
“It’s much much smaller,” Power admitted. “And I’m still trying to figure out what to do with the publishing company, which occupies the mezzanine [in the current space].”
The new retail space is at 32 Adams Street, which previously housed the Gramercy Flower Shop. At a mere 2,500 square feet, the space less than a quarter the size of powerHouse’s current digs.
But much like the books they publish and stock, great things can come in small packages.
[Photos: Barbara Eldredge]
A version of this story first appeared on DumboNYC.
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