Jul 29, 2014
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New Riverhead Bookstore, Writing Center Plan 'Dead'

Wendy Yusin said financing didn't materialize for "Jewl's" and plans a website, instead.

New Riverhead Bookstore, Writing Center Plan 'Dead'

It was a dream that had writers from across the country reaching out to participate.

But for Wendy Yusin, who  to open a new business, Jewl's Book Shoppe and Writing Center, at the old Suffolk Trust Building, located at 8 East Main Street in downtown Riverhead, the dream became impossible to transform into reality.

And so, on Friday, Yusin said she effectively "killed the project." 

When asked why she chose not to move forward, Yusin said funding did not materialize to purchase the building. "There were too many unknowns," she said. "I feel badly about it. It's a loss for Riverhead."

Instead, Yusin said she plans to launch an online version of her dream -- a virtual bookshop and website where she promises to help work with new writers and create a place online where artists can convene. "Writing is extrememly important," she said. "People need to express themselves."

Looking back, Yusin said there "is not enough support for small businesses" on the town, county, state or federal levels. "I don't know how they're going to jumpstart the economy without opportunities for small businesses," she said. "We all need to help each other in this economy in order for our country to be successful."

While Yusin believes grants, such as o and other established Riverhead business owners are "wonderful" she feels similar efforts should be made to help new small businesses take root and thrive.

And, she said, grants are not the only financial strategy that can be used. For example, Yusin said, Riverhead Town could possibly create a fund to help new businesses start out and offer low-interest rate loans that could be repaid with four to five percent interest.

That way, she said, new business owners would have an option other than social media or fundraising mechanisms such as KickStart. "Those are all wonderful, but the town should be behind these plans. And the town itself would stand to benefit from not only having a new small business, but also, it would benefit economically."

Her business, Yusin said, would have been more than just a book store. The goal, she said, "was to bring together all aspects of English language and the arts," including spaces for artists to show their work and a possible yoga studio. "The town has to be more receptive to these kinds of things," she said. "This business would have helped the economy of Riverhead."

A forensic accountant and teacher by trade, Yusin, who has long harbored a passion for writing, had hoped to shepherd the idea of the traditional bookstore into a new age -- something she still plans to do, online.

Her plan was to create a place for writers to attend seminars, get their ideas for books into publishable form, then self-publish ebooks and even have copies printed and ultimately sold at the shop.

The new bookstore was meant to invite customers to bring their Kindles and Nooks, and to embrace both new technology and traditional books, Yusin said.

"I tried everything," she said. "But when one door closes, another opens."

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter, who initially embraced the concept, did not respond immediately for a request for comment. 

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