Harbor Books Owner Confirms Choices: Close or Move

Taylor Rose at Harbor Books on Main Street. Abby Houston photo

Harbor Books on Main Street in Sag Harbor is in the process of liquidating its inventory “in anticipation of moving or closing” after February, proprietor Taylor Rose Berry confirmed on Monday.

Asked for an update on the store’s status, Ms. Berry wrote in an email to the Express that “the temporary rent freeze” that was offered in late November by landlord Ted Seiter through broker Hal Zwick — and reported at the time by the Express — “was simply not substantial enough to cause us to stay.”

She wrote that she was discussing alternative sites “with several landlords locally” but “we do not currently have a new location.”

“When and if we find a new location that has a rent that is sustainable, we will replenish our stock,” Ms. Berry wrote. “We fully intend to stay in Sag Harbor on Main Street to whatever extent that is possible.”

Mr. Zwick commented on Monday that Ms. Berry “has done a phenomenal job” since opening her bookstore in 2014 but that the low margins of the bookstore business and the sharp seasonality of the region’s economy make seeking a less expensive site a necessary step, even with the offer of a rent freeze on the table.

“As I have stated several times,” Ms. Berry wrote, “the scheduled rent increases made the current business even more unsustainable. While the Facebook post from the Express led many to believe that the landlord and I had come to an agreement, that was never the case. We negotiated months prior to the announcement” of a temporary rent freeze “and were unable to come to agreeable terms.”

Linked to an on-line story that was headlined “Harbor Books Not Ready to Say Goodbye Yet,” the November 28 Express Facebook post included an extract from the story about the rent freeze being offered soon after Ms. Berry had posted her plans to close at the end of her lease.

The offer was made “only after my announcement and only after the date where — as per our current lease — I had to give notice,” the story reports Ms. Berry commenting then. “Surely, I will be following that up with Ted and Hal as I have stated my desire to be in our location, but it is a very recent development.”

Ms. Berry said the store is currently not following any set hours of operation.

“I am grateful from the support from the community, including The Sag Harbor Express, but at this time I have nothing further to share about the details of the business and its future,” Ms. Berry concluded.