By late April, Capitol Hill Books was on the brink of closing forever. The shop's first Paycheck Protection Program loan application had been denied, and when Mayor Michael Hancock extended Denver's COVID-19 stay-at-home order through May 8, owner Holly Brooks wasn't sure if she'd be able to make rent on May 1.
The store is almost forty years old; Brooks has owned it for the past fifteen. But she thought this might be the end of a long run.
After one of Brooks's loyal employees let us know that she was thinking of closing for good, we wrote about her plight; as a result, Westword readers swamped the store with good wishes and orders. Two book fans, including the owner of Good Chemistry, even offered to pay May rent on the space at 300 East Colfax Avenue.
Brooks turned down that offer. After all, business had picked up.
"These online orders just don’t end," Brooks says, laughing. "Some people can’t figure out how to order online from the website, so they order fourteen books online from Amazon, just from us."
While she was still reeling from the influx of business, she got more good news on May 1.
"I don’t know if it’s just this whole weepy sympathy thing, but I also found out this morning that I got the payroll loan," Brooks told us.
All of this has put her in a position where she thinks that she'll be able to reopen the shop's doors when the stay-at-home order ends, and keep them open long into the future.
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"This is such a relief," she says. "I don’t care if I have to work seven days a week. I’m so relieved. The people keep calling and saying, 'What can I do so you can stay open?'"
While several folks have encouraged her to set up a GoFundMe, Brooks says that she doesn't want to ask for donations. She just wants to be able to sell books, and as long as orders keep coming in, she plans to keep the lights on.
"I’m not giving up," says Brooks. "I’m glad I didn’t."
Get your next book through the Capitol Hill Books website.