By CAROLYN SZCZEPANSKI
For the most part, it has been a good year for the Crossroads Infoshop. After being cramped in a leaky back room in a promising but deteriorating building on Troost Avenue, the community gathering space, music venue and radical book shop moved to a much larger store front with far more foot traffic. Volunteers spent months transforming the empty space with architectural rehab, artistic redecorating and a few coats of new paint.
While the shop is looking good — offering free coffee and internet access in addition to all the reading material — volunteers are still searching for ways to get more people involved. So starting today, the collective is hoping to find a few card-carrying members.
As of today, the Crossroads Infoshop is offering memberships. The deal: Pay $15 up front for annual dues and get a 10 percent discount on any new or used book purchases for the next 365 days. As the program gets rolling, more membership perks will follow.
Volunteer Chuck Munson says plenty of independent bookshops offer similar incentives. Back in the early 1990s, he helped out at Rainbow Bookstore in Madison, Wisconsin, and they had a membership program, too. The idea is not only to bank some financial resources for necessary expenses but also to give members a sense of investment in the project.
Beyond the walls of the bookstore, the building housing the Infoshop -- the Creative Minds Art Center -- is looking for some serious investment, too. This spring, the groups that call 3109 Troost home launched a "Raise the Roof" campaign. A promising space with an auditorium, old cafe and plenty of mini-shop spaces, the aging building needs at least $10,000 in roof repairs before any other work can be done. To date, the campaign has raised $300.
To become an Infoshop member, drop by any weekday evening between 5 and 8 p.m. or Saturday afternoon from 1 to 5 p.m.