Cherished NYC cookbook store struggles to find new space

Bonnie Slotnick CookbooksIndependent cookbook shops the world over are finding it difficult to keep the doors open. Grub Street New York reports on the latest casualty,  an iconic Greenwich Village cookbook store. Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks has occupied the same tiny, charming location since 2000, but it will be forced to close if owner Bonnie Slotnick can’t find a new home for the store before January.  

Rising rents, while an issue for small retail shops in her neighbor, aren’t driving Ms. Slotnick out of her shop. Rather, the landlord is flat-out refusing to renew her lease. When asked why this was the case, Slotnick replied, “This is a 130-year-old, five-story apartment building. It’s owned by a family real-estate business, and the owner is just – you can fill in the blanks. I’m the second bookstore that he has cut loose, shall we say.”

As with many small bookstores, Slotnick says hers is a labor of love. She worked in cookbook publishing from 1984 to 2000 as a book scout. “Before everybody was buying books online, if a bookstore needed books, they would have somebody who either went around to bookstores or sent out letters and lists of what they were looking for. I was doing that for another store, and I actually developed a bit of a following because I had out-of-print cookbook stock, and people would shop there.” After receiving a bit of publicity from Ruth Reichl, Slotnick opened a small cookbook store on a part-time basis in late 1997. It turned into a full-time occupation after she was laid off in 2000.

Slotnick has been searching for a new location for her shop and has found what may be the perfect location in the East Village. She definitely wants to remain in the cookbook store business: “I want to have my one store. I want to be there. I am the store and the store is me.”

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