Heights Books: Moving, Not Closing

BHB spoke today with Tracy Walsch, owner of Heights Books on Montague Street.  Their current location, 109 Montague Street, is for sale and the store will need to move,  however she tells us that Heights Books will live on at another location.  They will be searching for a new home and hope to remain in the area.   It’s just a matter of finding the right space at a good price she adds.

Flickr photo by pijus

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  • http://amysahba.blogspot.com amy


  • ABC

    No matter how much they want to stay in the area, I don’t see how they can.

    I shop there quite a lot, but how many $4 used books would one need to sell to make the rent in Brooklyn Heights? And honestly, I took a lot of books there too, so usually I’m just trading books with them. How can they stay afloat doing that?

    I wonder if we shouldn’t just give up the dream of romantic wine bars and fish shops and mom and pops. It doesn’t work. Maybe we should be facing reality and lobby for the chains we like to come to BH. I’d rather have a Williams Sonoma than a Duane Reade.

  • http://selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot.com Claude Scales

    While I’m gratified to know that Heights Books hopes to stay in business, I share other readers’ skepticism concerning their ability to find space in the Heights in present-day market conditions. While price bubbles are usually self-correcting over time, Heights commercial real estate is an exception because supply is essentially fixed. This and the fact that more cash flow can usually be generated by serving the needs of workers from nearby offices than from catering to residents means the outlook for places like Heights Books is grim, as, unfortunately, is the prospect of luring something like Williams-Sonoma. If Heights residents made an effort to shop at home instead of in Manhattan where most of them work, it might help. But this leads into a chicken-and-egg problem. If there are no attractive stores for locals to patronize, people here won’t shop locally.

  • louis

    The BHB is cool on gossip but really shitty on reporting.

    Tracy Walsh is not the owner of Heights Books. She may be an investor-manager with stock (i.e., used books) options…but the owner? Come on guys, check your facts!

  • Teddy

    “It’s just a matter of finding the right space at a good price she adds.”

    Good luck.

  • Homer Fink

    “Louis” – that’s how she identified herself.

  • http://brooklynheightsblog.com Qfwfq
  • ABC

    in brighter news, did you see the PS8 annex was approved?

    btw that and the park, we may have a future yet.

  • AB

    Build it and they will come, is my belief. Rents are as high if not higher in Manhattan as in BH, yet not every store and restaurant there is part of an established chain, right?

    Noodle Pudding, while not on Montague, and not in any way surpassing, is jammed nightly because it does what should be done elsewhere: offer something needed and wanted that is affordable and sufficiently distinctive to invite return visits.

  • Norman E-mailer

    Hey Claude, any idea when Grace Church is fixing that railing?

  • Jazz

    I think I know of a huge space on Henry Street that just became available.

  • Nigel

    This is the problem with this neighborhood and, really, so much of NYC these days. All the cool, grassroots stuff (and people) is getting priced out. Blandsville here we come. It troubles me.

  • Loving Brooklyn

    Jazz, I think I would like to increase the density of great quality restaurants in the old busy chef/oven spaces. They are already outfitted for a restaurant or two Siggy-like places. It would be good to have the bookstore move to the vacant spot on Henry and Clark, next to Clark restaurant. It looks like there is an upstairs where it might be nice to read a book at table overlooking the street.

  • JGM

    I agree with AB…In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king….while Noodle Pudding is not the greatest, is really has no competition…hence crowds every night. And as I work in Manhattan, but like to eat back home, I end up at NP quite a bit….but also very willing to walk to Dumbo or Cobble Hill. Although the rents are part of it, I have yet to see anything very notable pulled off in Brooklyn Heights that would attract anyone from comining here from another area.

  • wtf?

    I’d just say Noodle Pudding is very good. And not just by the low standards of this neighborhood. Sure, it’s not revelatory, but it’s the only thing approaching “real Italian” anywhere around here. You have to go to Max or somesuch to get close.

  • joe

    Can someone talk a little bit more about PS 8 annex. Where and when? I’m an interested party obviously.

  • punko

    I’m with Nigel. NYC is slowly turning into a faceless American City. Manhattan, most of it anyway, is beyond hope. Brooklyn is our only chance. I have lived here for 20 years. The changes–and there have been so many–are largely disheartening.

  • http://LostCity Brooks of Sheffield

    Thanks for the additional information. I’ve included an update on my blog.

  • Andrew Porter

    The space at the corner of Pineapple Street and Henry Street, on the first floor of the St. George Hotel housing students, would be an ideal place for this store. It’s large enough, gets a lot of walk-by traffic on the way to the restaurants on upper Henry, as well as the Clark Street subway station. Don’t know what the rent is, but the place has been vacant for years and years.

  • http://brooklynheightsblog.com Qfwfq

    enlighten us , “louis”… who are the real shadowy owners of the Heights Books, since obviously they employ decoys to confound us all?

  • Jazz
  • http://www.brooklyndojo.com Sensei Brian

    When I inquired a few years ago, the space at Pineapple and Henry was $120,000 annually. I don’t think it has changed since.

    That’s a lot of Louis L’Amour.

  • nabeguy

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re not already paying $10G/month on Montague, so it might be a good fit. if they could include text books to cater to the students, it might be a grand slam.

  • bornhere

    What a neat idea, nabe, especially if the owner(s) would be willing to branch out into text books (I would think that inventory/control issues might be more complicated, though).
    And no screaming … but wouldn’t even a b–k be an okay choice for the corner of Pineapple/Henry?

  • GHB

    You’re assuming that the students are going to be a permanent addition to BH? I was still hoping for a boutique hotel…maybe when the economy comes back?

  • nabeguy

    Sorry GHB but that ship already sailed. For now, there’s definitely more money in housing the students. Bornhere, when you mention inventory/control issues, are you referring to the potential of 5 finger discounts at the hands of thestudents? In that case, scrap the textbooks and have a comics/graphic novels section…and at least one area for a pinball machine.

  • bornhere

    No, no — I mean just the mechanics likely involved in obtaining book lists from the school, ordering books from publishers, issuing refunds to students for canceled classes/returned books, etc, etc. I would think that selling used books is just less Bartleby-the-Scrivner intensive. (And my earlier post was to have two hyphens, representing “a” and “n.”)

  • nabeguy

    BH, you didn’t happen to manage the old B&N on 18th, did you? My bookselliing experience did not include text books, although the store itself was heavily marketed to the NYU students and teachers. My experience tells me that even if they simply carried a good line of paperback classics, they’re sure they’d make something off the students. And then there’s always the pinball machine as a fallback….

  • bornhere

    :) No, nabe, I know nothing about selling anything (but I did shop there, I went to NYU, and I now work a couple of blocks from there. I also didn’t realize they’re gone!)
    I mentioned what would seem to be the complication of textbooks only because you suggested the idea of selling them. Anyway … I do think it’s a good idea. And when I read about all the good retailing ideas on this blog, I wonder if anyone who’s thinking of goin’ into business in the hood ever reads this to get a feel of what might be a work (at least in the opinions of the BHB usual suspects — all 30 or so of us :)

  • Peter

    The owners of Heights books are not “shadowy” at all. Just walk in and ask. Ned Futterman and Stan ____are the main owners, and Tracy is manager and an investor.

    And “used” shouldn’t conjure up what’s on the dollar stands, there’s a wonderful treasure trove of books in there and in the other dwindling bunch of used book stores, that used to be so common in NYC.