Save Uncle Hugo’s – June Update

The future location of Don Blyly’s Uncle Hugo’s and Uncle Edgar’s bookstores won’t be at his original first choice in Richfield, MN he told subscribers in his June update. His two stores were burned by vandals a year ago while protests were happening elsewhere in Minneapolis. Blyly has since cleared and sold that lot, and is looking to reopen elsewhere assisted by an insurance payment and the Official Help Save Uncle Hugo’s Fund at GoFundMe which has raised $186,665 to date.

Don Blyly

Here are the highlights of Don Blyly’s June 5 “How’s Business?” update.

Larry Correia will be signing his new novel to help out Uncle Hugo’s on July 31, and Dreamhaven will provide the venue.

Larry Correia has a new novel coming in less that 2 months, Monster Hunter Bloodlines ($25.00), and Larry likes to launch new Monster Hunter novels with a signing at Uncle Hugo’s.  He really wanted to help Uncle Hugo’s this year with a signing, but there is the problem of no building.  So I worked out a deal with Greg Ketter at Dreamhaven and with Larry for the signing to take place at Dreamhaven so that the signing can help both stores.  You can now place a mail order for the new book here.

If you can make it to the signing in person, it will start at 3 pm on Saturday, July 31, at 2301 E. 38th St., about 2 miles from the old Uncle Hugo’s location.  Greg will be bringing in a lot of Larry’s backlist books.  Proceeds from the sale of the new hardcover will go to Uncle Hugo’s and proceeds from everything else you buy during the signing will go to Dreamhaven.

Blyly says the clock is ticking on finding a replacement because he only has a limited window to reinvest the insurance in another building before he’ll have to pay capital gains taxes on it. However, on closer inspection his top prospect isn’t going to work out.   

I’ve considered a small strip mall in Richfield as my #1 option since last summer, but somebody else made an offer first.  I was told at the beginning of January that the person who made the offer had 90 days to complete the purchase or the building would go back on the market.    After about 100 days, it still had not sold, so I called the listing agent to find out what was going on.  He said that the parties had agreed to a 30 day extension.  I had several more discussions with him, and he finally agreed to let me look inside the building.  From the description and photos in the listing, I expected most of the 4000 sq. ft. first floor to be one large room, with a smaller back room, plus a 2000 sq. ft. basement.  Turns out that the basement was very nice.  The back room was very nice, except it was separated from the main space by load-bearing concrete block walls, so you had to go outside the building to get from the main space into the back room.  The main space was broken into a lot of small rooms by load-bearing concrete block walls.  The two biggest rooms, at the front of the space, were each less that 1/3 of the space of the old Uncle Hugo’s space, with a concrete block wall with a couple of doors separating them.    I couldn’t figure out any way to make the space work. And there was an expensive pollution problem from decades of dry cleaning in the space.  And the agent wanted me to make an offer in a way that made me very nervous.

There is a part of the tax code that is meant to help businesses that have been burnt out to get back into business.  The business has two years to buy a new building to replace the old building and avoid capital gains treatment on the insurance pay-out.    A few days before May 15 my tax guy told me that if I missed that 2 year window, about $475,000 of the insurance pay-out would go to the government in capital gains tax–a result that I’d rather avoid.  He also told me for the first time that at least 51% of the building I bought had to be used for the Uncles or else I would still have to pay the capital gains tax.  I had looked at several other strip malls where about 1/3 of the mall was standing empty, and some free standing buildings where half of the first floor was vacant but there were rented apartments on the second floor.  If I had liked any of those options, I might have made an offer that used up most of the insurance money, and then had IRS come after me for $475,000 of the insurance money.    At least now I can narrow the kinds of properties to consider.   

So he’s looking through the commercial real estate listings for another option.   

Blyly continues to sell off his personal collection of books, with the money going toward reopening the Uncles.

The signed Heinlein books went fast, but there are still a lot of less expensive Heinlein books left, and lots of both signed and less expensive Herbert books.  Yesterday the high was 99 degrees, so I didn’t get much done yesterday.  You can view the Uncles’ Abebooks listing by going to here and click “View this seller’s items”.  You should be aware that none of the images of the books are supplied by me, but rather are stock images from Abebooks which may or may not be accurate.  Also, Abebooks wants to sell books, not necessarily just my books, so they make it easy to accidentally go from viewing the Uncles books to viewing books from hundreds of dealers. 

He advises customers:

Abebooks takes a commission on both the price of the book and on the shipping charge, so I make more money if you buy directly from me instead of through Abebooks (email me with what you want to buy and I’ll explain how to go about it). If you only want to buy one book, it costs you the same whether you go through Abebooks or directly through me, but if you want to buy multiple books you will save on shipping by buying directly from me.  The money from selling my personal library will go into the pot of money to try to re-open the Uncles. 

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