Local bookstore One More Page (2200 N. Westmoreland Street) will be able to pay the bills after all, thanks to its auction last month.
“We received donations of wine, window washing service, and many other items,” said owner Eileen McGervey, of the items the store auctioned off. “It was really quite overwhelming.”
In total, the online auction raised $20,374.32, passing its goal of $20,000.
The highest bid item was an original cartoon by the late Richard Thompson, which was donated by his wife Amy Thompson — it sold for $1,111.50. The item the fetched the second highest bit was naming rights to a character in the the Wine Country mystery series by Ellen Crosby, which sold for $725.
McGervey described the auction as a “wonderful success” to ARLnow and said the money raised was enough to cover the vendors she wasn’t able to pay after the building owner raised her rent by 30 percent in July. The spike in rent was caused largely by changes to the county’s real estate valuation method for the type of condominium building that houses One More Page.
The building’s property tax liability more than doubled this year, even after an appeal that knocked $700,000 off the valuation.
Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey tells ARLnow he has been working with the parties involved to try to make sure One More Page could meet its obligations and stay in business.
“Shortly after this issue raised itself in the public eye, I spoke with the owner and we tried to see what we could do and what would be available,” Dorsey said.
Dorsey encouraged any small businesses affected by the real estate valuation change to contact Arlington Economic Development’s BizLaunch division.
Dorsey said he was “deeply sympathetic” to the bookstore’s plight, noting that the establishment is one of his family’s favorites. But he added that the valuation changes was necessary because “for years we were not taxing at the appropriate levels, which create larger issues of equity.”
In the meantime, McGervey said that the bookstore is looking into holding more events to help it stay afloat. She’s also started a Patreon membership program after would-be auction buyers said they were interested in supporting the bookstore that way.
“The whole experience has invigorated us and our customers to make sure we stay here,” McGervey said.