It's a sad day in Midtown.
After 18 years of serving the gay and lesbian community, has closed for good. Owner and founder Philip Rafshoon made the announcement Thursday in a letter to the community.
"We have run out of time and money," Rafshoon wrote in the letter. , he revealed the company was in dire straits due to financial struggles and the ever-changing book industry. And after several fundraising attempts, Rafshoon the bookstore would close.
have been scrapped. The business is closed permanently. Rafshoon on Thursday filed for bankruptcy, he said during an afternoon phone call.
"We've been trying for months," Rafshoon said. "The hole is just way too big."
The news hasn't been easy for many residents.
"Outwrite's influence on the community was much more about bringing people together to a safe place than the selling of merchandise in an age of Amazon and iTunes," Midtowner Joe Maxwell said Tuesday night at Outwrite's "," the bookstore's final event. That night dozens of writers, friends, shoppers and supporters gathered to pay homage to the longtime community haven.
"I have given birth to many of my books at Outwrite," Atlanta poet Franklin Abbott said Tuesday. "This is a place we can talk to each other and listen to each other. That's what's rare about it."
Here is Rafshoon's full letter to the community:
Dear Outwrite Community,
We regret to inform you that effective January 26, 2012, Outwrite Bookstore and Coffeehouse is closed for business. For over 18 years, we have been privileged to serve Atlanta residents and welcome visitors from across America and around the world. We sincerely thank you for your patronage.
As an independent bookstore and coffeehouse focused on the LGBT community, Outwrite has served as a symbol of strength and diversity in this city; and we have helped create a vibrant, pedestrian environment in Midtown. Our community has made an incredible amount of progress in the past 18 years and we are proud to have been part of that progress.
Since we shared our financial struggles with you nine months ago, we have been very encouraged by the strong show of support. We have listened to your insights and your desire for us to stay in business. So many of you have generously stepped up, shared your ideas and volunteered your time in an effort to transform Outwrite to meet the changing needs of our customers and our community.
Unfortunately, we have run out of time and money to make that transformation. We have examined and exhausted all possibilities for continuing this company given our financial situation.
All of us at Outwrite believe in the strength of our community and you will continue to see us working to strengthen and enrich it. While it is a challenging economy and the bookselling industry is rapidly evolving, there is still a need for neighborhoods with a strong LGBT presence and independent bookstores serving communities throughout the world.
Thanks to all of you who made Outwrite the special place it has been over the past 18 years. Thank you to all who came in on a regular basis, showing your commitment to supporting independent, local businesses. And thank you to all of the authors, poets, artists, musicians, volunteers, and activists, who have entertained, educated and energized us: your contributions have highlighted the strength, beauty, vitality, and creativity of our lives and changed the face of Atlanta. Thank you for making our community a better place.
& the Outwrite Staff and Family