The trio of 20-somethings who have longed to own Antigone Books don’t have to dream anymore: The store will soon be theirs.
There have been tears of joy at 411 N. Fourth Ave. since late last week, when public support started pouring in by way of a crowd-funding campaign they set up.
Antigone employees Morgan Miller, Kate Stern and Melissa Negelspach recently obtained the loan they needed to get close to the purchase price, but had to find another $32,000 to make it happen.
By Monday afternoon, they were less than $100 away from their goal, and by early evening they had surpassed it, raising more than $32,200.
“We have been overwhelmed by the support,” said Kate Randall, one of two current owners rooting for the employees to make this a reality. “What an incredible community we have here in Tucson.”
Randall and her longtime business partner, Trudy Mills, announced their plans to sell Antigone Books about 18 months ago and have hoped the buyers would be their three employees, who told them almost immediately of their interest.
“Honestly, this has completely blown away my expectations,” Negelspach said Monday, while working at the store. “We are overwhelmed with gratitude. We did not expect this level of support.”
Randall said she was also surprised it came together so fast. “We’re so pleased,” she said “It’s a done deal for sure and now they can move forward. It’s very, very exciting.”
A fundraising party planned for Saturday will now be more of a celebration, she said. The sales price of the bookstore has not been disclosed.
The trio, who met working in the store, started talking about buying Antigone almost immediately after hearing it was going to be sold. They said it seemed impossible at times, but they didn’t give up.
Randall plans to continue to work at Antigone while Mills, the other owner, will stay through the transition and then be on call to help as needed. They have run the bookstore for 30 years.
Randall and Mills will continue to own the building, but hope to eventually sell it to the three women.
Antigone Books, named after the Greek mythological character who defied masculine authority, opened in 1973.
At first, the store offered only feminist literature and research, but over time it expanded in both size and offerings. Antigone is known for its zany gifts and cards as well as a collection of books that includes not only feminist literature, but also books about human rights, the environment and selections for teens and children.