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Lift Bridge struggles to stay afloat

by Courtney Deeren - Managing Editor
Sun, Mar 8th 2020 12:00 pm
Lift Bridge Book Shop (above) ask the community to support local businesses over big box sellers. Photo Credit: Marios Argitis/ Photo Editor
Lift Bridge Book Shop (above) ask the community to support local businesses over big box sellers. Photo Credit: Marios Argitis/ Photo Editor
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For Village of Brockport residents and anyone visiting, Lift Bridge Book Shop is a pillar figure in the community. When driving down Main Street, it’s hard not to notice the building — a large mural painted above the shop draws the eyes of anyone passing through. Although the bookstore has been part of the Brockport community for 48 years, the recent rise of digital and big box booksellers has led to a bit of conflict for Lift Bridge. 

As many small businesses today, Lift Bridge is struggling with clientele. In an attempt to combat this issue, the business began handing out inserts with every purchase sharing these issues with customers. 

“We share this with an open and heavy heart,” the paper read. “Right now, we are at a pivotal moment. Lift Bridge has been part of the community for 48 years and we are concerned we will not be able to make it through this year.” 

The initial picture was posted by Cindy Haag on Facebook with the caption “sad to find this notice in my bag after visiting Lift Bridge Bookstore…”

Hagg has been a long time customer of Lift Bridge and, as she stated in her Facebook post, this saddened her to see a local and beloved place struggling so much. 

“I made it a point to order from Lift Bridge and wait for my book to arrive,” Haag said. “Amazon and other online retailers may offer lower prices but I think some things are more important. Local businesses support local families, not a shareholder’s portfolio. Though our children are grown, I have many happy memories of buying toys and books for them at Lift Bridge. I will continue to shop there and I hope others will also.”

It seems this plea, shared by a loyal fan on social media, that quickly spread worked. The following day, Feb. 23,  owners John and Sarah Bonczyk shared a photo with words of gratitude.  

“Thank you! Today was a very busy day at Lift Bridge,” they wrote. “To everyone who shared, liked and commented on social media about our letter, we thank you. To every single customer that came in today to shop and support us, we thank you. This is what we need. If we didn’t see you this weekend, we hope to see you in the store soon!”

The post garnered a good amount of support with 41 comments and 400 reactions. What’s more, many local news outlets also covered the story. 

One of the commenters, Helen MacDonald, wrote “I visit once a year from Scotland and always find several books to see me through my holiday. I do hope you will still be in business when I return. All the best.”

The owners are very thankful for having the newfound support. 

“The attention has been very positive and we feel incredibly grateful for that,” Sarah said. “We really didn’t know what the reaction was going to be when we wrote that letter but felt it was necessary to at least share where we are at. And it’s a great opportunity to reiterate the broader picture of ‘shop local’ and how important that is to a small business.” 

The Bonczyks are optimistic about this newfound popularity and attention.

“Our hope is that the momentum continues because it is what we need,” Sarah said. “We have had so many people in the last week tell us they’ve never been in the store before or that they haven’t been in for many years. Again, we are very grateful for everyone who has been coming in and reaching out to us to show their support.”

This call to action by the store owners has prompted many to reconsider how they shop. The comment sections are full of people reminding others to shop local as well. In a small community such as Brockport, the local business scene is important to the survival and thrival of the municipality as a whole. 

Lift Bridge is open Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Wednesdays from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. 

Photo of the Week

Taken by Vincent Croce:
Staff Photographer

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