Cooperative lit! Greenlight helps powerHouse after Hurricane

Pulped fiction: DUMBO’s bookkeeper finds his store under water
Community Newspaper Group / Eli Rosenberg

Hurricane Sandy brought everyone in the borough together — and that includes business rivals.

When the proprietors of Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene found out that the storm flooded nearby powerHouse Books in DUMBO, ruining merchandise and shop infrastructure, they sprung into action.

“When I heard about their news I reached out to see if there was anything we could do to help,” said Greenlight owner Rebecca Fitting, who lent the inundated shop — which is a competitor in Brooklyn’s tight literary market — enough electronics to get the storm-damaged register system back up and running.

Fitting said her Fulton Street bookstore wasn’t using the loaned equipment — which includes a credit card swiper, a bar code scanner, and a receipt printer from Greenlight’s kiosk at the Brooklyn Academy of Music — but she claims she would have handed over the goods either way.

“If we watched our business, that we built from scratch, get beat up like that, I would hope someone would do the same for us,” she said. “Bookstores work best when they’re friends, not competitors.”

And it was not the only good deeds the small store has done in the wake of the storm.

After a week of booming business after the hurricane, Fitting and co-owner Jessica Stockton-Bagnulo donated 10 percent of sales — $4,000 — to two funds addressing the recovery in Brooklyn: Occupy Sandy and the Brooklyn Recovery Fund.

The folks behind powerHouse, which sustained tens of thousands of dollars of damage after 28 inches of floodwater ripped through the store, said that the equipment donations were integral to their speedy reopening last Saturday.

“It saved us a lot of time and made it so we could continue to conduct inventory,” said powerHouse owner Daniel Power.

The owners of Greenlight said they believe it’s important to help local businesses in addition to giving support to individuals hit by the storm.

“Small businesses are owned by people,” Fitting said. “Helping small businesses helps those people.”

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.