The Neighbourhood Bookstore and Café gets back on its feet

Maggie Wysocki, CONTRIBUTOR

Coordinator of the event, Kiah Verinder said she hopes the evening raised enough donations to get the café “back and running like it used to.” THE PROJECTOR/ Maggie Wysocki

Bill Fugler’s “genuine and kind smile” was all it took for Kiah Verinder to plan a fundraising event in support of his Wolseley business, The Neighbourhood Bookstore and Café.

“I actually came in to apply for a job. Bill told me what was happening and I could feel his heart break,” Verinder said.

The 22-year-old said Fugler didn’t give her the job because he was too overwhelmed with the city by-laws he was battling to afford to pay anyone else.

“This is where I played my first show and I thought ‘why not host a concert here to raise money?’,” Verinder said.

Over 500 people liked Verinder’s Facebook post — “Save the Neighbourhood Bookstore & Café!” — and Fugler said at least 200 came to support the business on March 15.

“We raised almost $250, which was amazing,” Fugler said.

Throughout the evening, five local musicians played acoustic music, including Verinder’s brother’s band, Dinner Club.

For the past seven years, The Neighborhood Bookstore and Café has been struggling with several legal battles with the city.

The most recent one is a by-law requiring all businesses that sell food to have a grease trap.

But food wise, Fugler said all his business sells is sandwiches and baked goods — items that produce little to no grease.

Thanks to Verinder’s social media skills and additional media coverage, Tom Beggs Agencies said they saw the Facebook page for the event and donated a grease trap to Fugler.

“They came in out of the blue and said they’re going to be my new best friend, and I was thrilled,” Fugler said.

The equipment was installed March 2, and Fugler said he’s still waiting for the city to approve it.

The donated grease trap allows Fugler to serve food again and to stop using disposable plates, cutlery, and cups, which he said doubled the amount of trash the business produced.

Despite Tom Beggs Agencies’ generous donation, Fugler said The Neighbourhood Bookstore and Cafe could still use a helping hand.

Due to the business having to close in order to obey city by-laws, Fugler said the store’s money has been “exhausted” and donations are needed to “restart the engine.”

To help The Neighbourhood Bookstore and Café get back on its feet, Fugler created a GoFundMe page, which hopes to raise $10,000 for a new fridge, espresso machine, and exterior building repairs, amongst other things.

“What we’re hoping to do is get enough capital to hire more employees,” Fugler said, adding that Verinder might be able to get the job she originally came in for after all.