Yu & Me Books, the first Asian American woman-owned bookstore in New York City, has received more than $300,000 in donations after a fire destroyed the store.
What happened: A fire broke out in a residential unit directly above the bookstore in the city’s Chinatown on July 4, causing massive smoke and water damage to the store. The cause of the fire has not been determined.
“We’ve lost the majority of our inventory and much of the equipment that makes our day-to-day business possible,” the staff wrote in a statement on its GoFundMe page. “Most devastatingly, we’ve been told that the store will require a complete gut renovation—estimated to take about a year to complete.”
Donations: With more than 6,000 donations to help the bookstore recover, Yu & Me Books has exceeded its $150,000 GoFundMe goal, raking in more than $326,000 as of Monday.
Among the donors were actor Simu Liu and authors Celeste Ng and Min Jin Lee. According to the bookstore, the donations will go toward paying staff wages and replacing furniture, equipment and all damaged inventory. The owner also plans to create a pop-up or temporary space while the bookstore is under renovation.
“Facing closure for an entire year is catastrophic for a small business,” the staff said. “Insurance money won’t be coming in for at least eight months, taxes and other bills are due, and we want to make sure we can keep our staff paid while keeping their health insurance.”
About Yu & Me Books: The bookstore was opened in December 2021 by Lucy Yu, a former chemical engineer and supply chain manager hoping to spotlight stories by immigrants and people of color.
Yu & Me Books is considered the first female-owned Asian American bookstore in New York City. The store has since become a safe haven for the Chinatown community.
“If you’ve been to any of our book launches, artist pop-ups, open mic nights, safety device distribution events, or even just visited on a weekday afternoon, you know what this space means to so many people,” the staff said.
We celebrate community at its core and constantly work to ensure that everyone who visits our space feels supported and cared for. Lucy has poured her entire self into making this space a reality, keeping the store afloat throughout so many challenges while always prioritizing our staff, customers, authors and the Chinatown community as a whole.