You can see how much jam it takes to start a business in New York nowadays from the example of Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, profiled today at Brooklyn Based. At her own blog she writes, “booksellers are tough, and relish a challenge.” They better be — Bagnulo, who’s been in the bookselling game for eight years, tells BB the “1,500- to 2,000-square-foot bookstore” she wants to open requires a quarter of a million dollars in capital. Business loans have been hard to obtain, so she and her backer Rebecca Fitting of Random House are soliciting investments of $1,000 and $10,000, which they will pay back “at prime plus 1 percent over five years starting a year after the business open.” Fortunately for Bagnulo, her efforts are well-publicized and she works the available business resources well — she won $15,000 in a Citibank business plan competition, and the Fort Greene Association is helping out. So next time you see a vacant storefront and think, “Hm, time to open that record store like in High Fidelity,” be aware that John Cusack couldn’t have been all that much of a slacker to begin with.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 30, 2008