Storeowner Philip Rafshoon held an interview at the store on Wednesday, Jan. 25, during which he made public that the store was officially closing and filing for bankruptcy.
“We’re in a big financial hole that it’s just impossible to come out of,” Rafshoon said. “This morning we’ll be filing for bankruptcy and Outwrite as a company will cease to exist.”
In November 2011, the bookstore broadcasted plans to relocate from its well-known location at 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue, where the rent was too high. Rafshoon even launched a Save Outwrite Books campaign at this time. In a farewell letter posted on Outwrite’s website, Rafshoon addressed the intended relocation and explained the change of plans.
“Unfortunately we have run out of time and money to make that transformation” wrote Rafshoon. “We have examined and exhausted all possibilities for continuing this company given our financial situation.”
Outwrite first announced it was going through financial turmoil in May 2011. Upon hearing of its financial hardships, advocates of Outwrite made valiant efforts to keep the store open. After the announcement was made, sales, book signings and special events at the store skyrocketed. However, supporters were unable to keep the business afloat.
“It’s been a great run, but we’re closed for business. For good. We’re not able to relocate. We thought we could. It just didn’t come together. It was a long shot to begin with and we wanted to cling to hope that we could find a new place.”
The bookstore opened in 1993 as Atlanta’s first gay and lesbian centered bookstore and has since served as a landmark and a safe haven for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community for over 18 years.
During the Wednesday interview, a teary-eyed Rafshoon expressed his disappointment that Outwrite would no longer be able to serve as an outlet and a safe gathering place for Atlanta’s LGBT, which the store had been for nearly two decades.
“As an independent bookstore and coffeehouse focused on the LBGT 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,” Rafshoon said. “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.”