Monday, November 13, 2017

Sponsor Letter, November 13th 2017

Hello Dear Sponsors,

First off, thank you for being patient with my recent silence (although, given how I have been flooding your mail boxes over the past month, you might have enjoyed the break).  After the combination of going a month without a day off, being out of town at the World Fantasy Convention, and then catching up on everything that I had let slide over the last month (bookkeeping, for one) . . . well, let's just say I needed a little breather.

Before I dive into the current building news, let me catch you up on our upcoming events.  Right now we've only a few scheduled -

Saturday, November, 18th, 10 am to 11 pm (yup, you read the time right) - Borderlands 20th Anniversary Party (and Sponsor Social) - All the details are at the end of this note but the short version is:
Noon to 6 pm - Author signings galore (including folks like Gail Carriger, Richard Kadrey, and Peter Beagle) plus staff recommended books at cost, cake, and DJ Steve Boyett.
6 pm to 7 pm - We'll be setting up for the social but you're welcome to hang out.
7pm to 11 pm - Sponsor Social!  Indian food to die for, lotsa drinks, more DJ, silly stories from Alan, door prizes, much talk of Haight Street and world domination.
11 pm to ??? - If you're still standing (I don't need to be standing -- Jude's got a wheelbarrow for me), close-down drinks across the street at the Phoenix Pub.

Tuesday, November 28th at 7 pm - Sponsor Cocktails at Churchill
We're continuing our Monthly Sponsor Cocktail night at Churchill (198 Church Street at Market) <>; some combination of us will be there from at least 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm.  No need to RSVP and any number of guests and friends are welcome.  The bar is INCREDIBLY convenient to public transit -- the MUNI Metro Underground (via F, K, L, and M lines at Church Street,) and J and N lines stop less than a block away.

Sunday, December 10th, 2 pm to 6 pm - Dickens Fair
We're going to Dickens Fair as a group <>.  We've arranged group tickets for $20 per person and there's no limit to the number of people who can come so please feel free to bring friends, family, children, strangers you met at the bar last night, and so on.  If you'd like to come, please drop us a line by replying to this email and include the number of people you will be bringing.  We'll get back to you and make arrangements for pre-payment for the tickets.  Look for car-pooling information in the next sponsor note.

In the next sponsor note I'll have the schedule of events for the first part of next year, details about sponsorship renewals, mail order information for anniversary hoodies and lots of other news.  But for now, we still need to work out all those details.

Now, some news about our new building.  First off, it's paid for and escrow will close on Tuesday.  I've got a long piece explaining where we go from here in the store newsletter, which I'll be sending out shortly after (or, perhaps, before) this note.  Something that I'm not mentioning in the newsletter is that we've got an official building historian and he's been damn busy over the past few weeks.

Zach Harper has been a sponsor since the very beginning (and part of the first 300 -- #260 to be precise).  He got interested in finding out a bit about the history of 1377 Haight St. and did a bit of digging.  And then he caught the city-history bug (something that afflicts Jude and I, BTW).  He's still working on the previous occupants of the building but he's got an awful lot of the history nailed down already.  You can see his work thus far at - .  It's so cool what he's found -- from the original advertisement when the lot was sold at auction through the old Sanborn Fire Insurance maps and even bios of the owners and the architect.  We are still very short on historic pictures of the place so, if you run across any, drop me a line and I'll pass them along to him.

In other building news, I'm going to be hanging around the place this Thursday, November the 16th, from 4 pm to 8 pm.  If you'd like to come down, take a look at the space, say hi, and chat with me about layout and future plans -- I'd love to see you and show off our new House on the Borderland.  The address is 1377 Haight St. and it's just east of Masonic Avenue.

I'm really looking forward to seeing you, either at the building, at the party, or at Dickens Fair.  We really do have an awful lot to celebrate!

All Best,

Complete Anniversary Party Details

Borderlands 20th Anniversary Party, Saturday, November 18th, 10 am to 6 pm - We're celebrating two decades of bookselling with an all-day party.  At noon, the store will open to the general public and the fun really starts.  We'll have a rotating lineup of some of our favorite local authors signing their work in half-hour blocks. The schedule is:

12:00 pm: Dana Fredsti, Nick Mamatas, Megan E. O'Keefe, and Tim Pratt; 1:00 pm: Peter S. Beagle, Michael Blumlein, Becca Gomez Farrell, and Nancy Jane Moore; 2:00 pm: Richard Kadrey, Ellen Klages, and Pat Murphy; 3:00 pm: Charlie Jane Anders and Annalee Newitz; 4:30 pm: Cara Black and Kelli Stanley; 5:00 pm: Steve Boyett & Ken Mitchroney, Gail Carriger, and Katherine Kerr.

Also, as long as supplies last, we'll have our staff's selection of their all-time favorite books for sale at our cost as a "thank you" for 20 wonderful years of bookselling.  Last but not least, we'll be unveiling our limited edition anniversary hoodie featuring a lovely design by Michelle Rapp.  It's right on time for the chilly season and would make a great holiday present for the booklover in your life.

At four, the music starts, courtesy of DJ Steve Boyett of Groovelectric and Podrunner fame - (since there's going to be music, we might just have to start our afternoon cocktails around then, too).  Also at four there will be an extraordinary cake, thanks to the incomparable Madeleine Robins.

Then come 6 pm we'll be closing early to get ready for our last sponsor party of 2017.  We hope you'll join us for an incredible day!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Building Update #10 - Signed, Sealed, and Delivered

Hi Everyone,

We've finished negotiations about the price reduction on the building.  There was a little back and forth but not as much as I expected.  Thanks to the fast work of Diarmuid MacNiell and Jon Fitzgibbon, we had estimates for a total of roughly $115,000 of repair work.  Specifically; repairing the retaining wall in the backyard, sorting out the funky framing in the basement, doing a soft-story retrofit, and replacing the roof.

The negotiation was pretty fast since two of those items we knew about going in (the roof and the soft-story).  It would be pretty disingenuous to say that we hadn't considered those costs when we made our offer and so we started asking for $70,000 off.  With a little back-and-forth, we settled for $41,000 off the agreed price.  Since the two things we didn't know about going in (the basement and the retaining wall) were estimated at at total of $42,000, I think we did pretty well.  I might have been happier with an extra thousand dollars but, when we're doing a two-million-plus dollar deal, $1000 is kind of small change.  I didn't think it was worth fighting over.

So, excluding closing costs, the final price was $2,259,000.  And that feels really darn good.  It also means we've got a bit of a surplus since we were aiming for a $100,000 repairs budget and now we've got $141,000.  I think that the best plan is to get the repairs done and then see where we stand.  I expect that I'll use the surplus to pay off some loans early but we'll see how things shake out once the hammers hit the nails.

The most exciting thing is that all the contingencies have been removed as of this evening.  Since those are the only ways out of the deal for both the buyer and the seller, with them taken care of it's just a matter of finishing the escrow period and then were done.  Translation -- there isn't any work left to do (other than lots of planning) and it's very unlikely that anything is going to happen at this point to derail the deal.

I'm going to be talking with the seller to see if we can close sooner.  There isn't an advantage to taking a longer time and, the sooner it's closed, the sooner we can get in there and start working.  I'll probably need to give the seller more time to get his stuff out of the place (since it's reasonable to figure that he planned on being out based on the original closing date) but that won't stop us from tearing out ivy, cleaning up the basement, getting measurements taken and plans drawn up.

It's all coming together very nicely.

Which is good; because I'm on a plane tomorrow at 7 am for San Antonio and the World Fantasy Convention.  I'll be back in town Monday night and back at work on Tuesday.  If you're going to the convention, make sure you let me know and I'll get you an invitation to our Sponsors' Scotch tasting on Saturday afternoon at 3:00 pm.

Since I'll be at the convention and running around quite a bit, please forgive me if I'm less responsive than usual to email.  Scott Cox is coming along and so he'll be a bit slow in the email department as well.

Thank you all for everything you've done for Borderlands over the years.  Day after tomorrow will be exactly 20 years to the day since I opened the shop's doors in Hayes Valley.  It's been a hell of a trip and I'm looking forward to the next 20 years with unbridled hope and excitement.  At the beginning of 2015, I never imagined that we'd all be here and doing this.

All Best,