Hollywood Bookshop Joins Legions of Folding Businesses

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It’s not just New York City’s Christopher Street that’s seeing gay shops close. In West Hollywood, A Different Light Bookstore on Santa Monica is shutting its doors soon, just like Manhattan’s Oscar Wilde.

[Owner Bill] Barker pointed to two significant events that negatively affected sales and ultimately drove the store under. The first was a major construction project renovating a stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard that started in 2001 and lasted nearly 2 years.

“[The city] came in and ripped all the sidewalks out and foot traffic and parking disappeared from West Hollywood for a year or 18 months and it never came back,” he says.

While the end result was a much wider sidewalk in the popular parts of town, many small businesses suffered and shut their doors during the construction.

The second event was the fire that burned down Mickey’s in August 2007.

“It was the business next store. They closed it down, barricaded the front and again I saw a drop off in sales. The bars attract people. They [Mickey’s] were supposed to open last June and that didn’t happen and then it went to October before Christmas and that didn’t happen. And now the economy is very very serious,” he continues. [Instinct]