After more than 50 years of operation, the Garden City Exchange will close its doors forever Saturday, May 29, Walter Engels, president of The Friends of the Library announced.
Citing rental increases, higher utility rates and rising insurance premiums, coupled with the inability to attract volunteers to staff the shop, the board of directors reluctantly reached this decision.
Effective immediately, no new articles will be accepted for consignment. Patrons who have articles in the shop are requested to stop by to retrieve them. On April 1, letters will be sent to those consignees who have not yet come to pick up their items. On June 1, all remaining articles will become the property of The Exchange and will be part of a clearance sale, will all proceeds going to The Friends of the Library.
The Exchange opened in 1952 on the small sun porch of Garden City's first library building, a small bungalow near the railroad station. The Exchange was a success. But it was short-lived, as the library needed space for its fast growing collection. The Exchange closed but the demand for its services persisted. In February 1955, the Exchange reopened at its present site, 55 Hilton Avenue, and repeated its instant success.
In the beginning, in addition to consigned goods, a committee of volunteers made fresh cookies and cakes and pies were made to order. The volunteers also made baby toys and knitted goods. Today, the cookies and handmade items are long gone.
The Exchange's closure could adversely affect the many programs sponsored by The Friends of the Library. For several years, Exchange Co-chairpersons Arthur Jasper and Irene Craig have presented a five-figure check, representing the profits from The Exchange, to The Friends.
These funds were used to sponsor such diverse activities as the Monday and Thursday movie programs, book discussion groups, Sunday and Thursday afternoon live performances, Young Adult workshops, kiddy shows and more.
The funds were also used to purchase computers for the children's room and the Young Adult Department. Henceforth, the only source of revenue will be the annual May book sale, proceeds from the sale of books near the circulation desk and memberships received in the annual membership drive (which began March 1). Last year, 777 families out of the 7,386 households in Garden City became members of The Friends.