Daily Cosmonaut #8: Meet Our New Fence
Once upon a time Microcosm was located in a church basement on Ivy Street. We had two and later three adjoining offices. We had a lockable accordian-style door that sectioned off the crawl space under the stairs and a few shelves for warehouse storage. We added a separate room across the building when the boxes were stacked so densely that we could not add one more. We filled every inch of our office and its closets with boxes and then I began filling up my basement at home. When there was indisputably no more room and the landlord raised the rent, it was time to go. We lived holed up in various staff members’ basements and a series of too-small walk-in locations from 2007 until 2010 when we dumped it in all in a big drafty industrial building and signed a deal with a trade distributor to warehouse about 50% of our books.
So imagine our zeal when we moved into our current location in 2014, a mere three blocks from our former church basement, with room to spare. At least it felt that way for a few months. Before long, we were receiving pallets of returns and getting new books every month until offices were turned into storage rooms and we again filled every inch of the building. We tried to work with the city to add more capacity and they said that while they would approve construction of, say, an apartment building or condo on our property, they would not approve any visible on-site storage. Any additions to our building would force us to add an elevator and other expensive zoning standards for new construction.
So eventually we found a solution that would work: a fence. Within the height limits and distance from the sidewalk, a fence can create a little privacy and allow for more storage. So over the past 18 months we’ve been steadily under construction and hopefully as a result, we should have enough room for the next two years. This process has forced us to be much more careful about what we publish and how many copies we print. We’ve been teetering close to our tipping point for many years but often that tension can be energizing rather than collapsing.
Who would have thought that such a simple solution could accomplish so much?