Bookstore Paper Nautilus Being Forced Out of Providence’s Wayland Square

Tuesday, March 07, 2017
GoLocalProv News Team and Kate Nagle

A picture from Paper Nautilus' FB page. The bookstore is due to close at the end of April.
The bookstore Paper Nautilus in Wayland Square has been informed that their lease will not be renewed — and a petition has been started to try and save the business that has been on the East Side for over 20 years. 

“I found out last week that I’ve got 45 days, until the end of my current lease,” said owner Kristin Sollenberger, of hearing from landlord Kenneth Dulgarian. “So I called Ken and asked what was up, could I pay more rent, what was going on. He said he had a non-disclosure signed, so I don't know if he sold the building or is renting it to a higher bidder.”

“I asked him if I could have two more months, he gave me two more weeks,” said Sollenberger. “So I’ve been selling off inventory. Ideally I’d love to stay on the East Side, I’m looking at places on Wickenden and Hope Street. I'm also looking at the West Side, and Wakefield, where I live, as well."

Sollenberger said that the bookstore had roughly 30,000 books, and that while most were used, that the store orders non-used copies from authors popular with customers, such as H.P. Lovecraft. 

“Our customer base has remained fairly steady over the years,” said Sollenberger. “People want to support local business, which has benefited me -- and the realization that something like this is rarer and rare, it needs to be supported.”

Sollenberger said it was a customer that started the petition to “change [Dulgarian’s] mind,” but that even she does not think she can stay. 

“I’m not sure that’s possible, from my conversations with [Dulgarian],” said Sollenberger.

Landlord Responds

Photo: PaperNautilusFB
Dulgarian spoke with GoLocal about the situation on Monday. 

“She's been a delightful tenant. Her lease is expiring mid-April,  I think she's been there 20 years,” said Dulgarian. “I just have another use for the building. Look, I know that industry, I was in that industry -- the book business. I owned College Hill Bookstore for forty years.”

“Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Macy’s, everything is going Internet,” said Dulgarian. “I always kept the rent modest - I subsidized it because I have an affinity for it, but it's unsustainable, and I've got a better use for that facility.”

Dulgarian said he had been made aware of the petition, which lists his number for people to call him. 

“I respect the right of people to voice their opinions,” said Dulgarian. “It's difficult being an independent retail seller -- I had to close down in 2004.  But when you see the giants closing, they see the shift too. It’s sad."

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