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Multimillionaire owner of Strand Book Store is slammed AGAIN after saying shop may shutter

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The multimillionaire owner of New York’s iconic Strand Book Store has shared a video showing a long line of customers outside her business – one day after she revealed the store was facing closure.  

On Friday, Nancy Bass Wyden took to social media begging book lovers to return to the 93-year-old shop because revenue was down 70 percent and it was at risk of shuttering amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Bass Wyden’s appeal appeared to have worked, with crowds of customers arriving at the store on Saturday. 

‘New York! Thank you so much. My heart is so full. I cannot express my gratitude enough for your support,’ Bass Wyden wrote on Twitter beneath a video showing people snaked around the block waiting to enter the business. 

But the Bass Wyden quickly came under fire, with several social media users pointing out that she is the multimillionaire wife of Democrat senator, and she recently bought at least $115,000 in Amazon stock and got a PPP loan while laying off workers. 

Nancy Bass Wyden has shared a video showing a long line of customers outside her Strand Book Store – one day after she revealed that revenue was down 70 percent and her store was facing financial ruin. However, she instantly faced criticism on social media

‘Look at all those people who still don’t know about your Amazon stocks or history of firing union workers,’ one person seethed in response to Bass Wyden’s post. 

‘What’s your excuse for buying Amazon stock and dropping union workers? I want badly to support the Strand by all I’m hearing is how awful you’ve been while in charge,’ another wrote. 

A third critic chimed in: ‘Awesome how a rich Democrat, who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Amazon stock, can beg for help.’ 

Bass Wyden says that she has put up funds from her own personal fortune to help keep the business afloat. 

‘Luckily I own the building the Strand is located in, otherwise we’d be past the point of bankruptcy, but even that won’t sustain a retail business without retail customers,’ Bass Wyden told DailyMail.com.

‘I’ve always subsidized The Strand’s operations – about $2 million a year comes from my personal finances, just to keep the store going.’ 

The business owner quickly came under fire, with several social media users pointing out that she is the multimillionaire wife of Democrat senator, Ron Wyden, and she recently bought at least $115,000 in Amazon stock and got a PPP loan while laying off workers

The Strand Bookstore, the iconic New York City book shop near Union Square in Manhattan, appealed to the public for financial help after it claimed it was near ruin due to the COVID-19 pandemic

On Friday, Bass Wyden begged via The Strand’s official Twitter account: ‘We need your help’.  

‘This is the post we hoped to never write, but today marks a huge turning point in The Strand’s history.

‘Our revenue has dropped nearly 70% compared to last year, and the loans and cash reserves that have kept us afloat these past months are depleted.’

‘We’ve survived just about everything for 93 years – the Great Depression, two World Wars, big box bookstores, e-books and online behemoths,’ Bass Wyden wrote in a letter to the store’s customers on Friday.

‘We are the last of the original 48 bookstores still standing from 4th Avenue’s famous Book Row.

‘Because of the impact of Covid-19, we cannot survive the huge decline in foot-traffic, a near complete loss of tourism, and zero in-store events (compared to 400 events pre-pandemic).’

Bass Wyden added: ‘I’m going to pull out all the stops to keep sharing our mutual love of the printed word.

‘But for the first time in The Strand’s 93 year history, we need to mobilize the community to buy from us so we can keep our doors open until there is a vaccine.’  

The Strand is owned by Nancy Bass Wyden (above), whose net worth is estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars

Bass Wyden is the wife of Senator Ron Wyden, the Democrat from Oregon. The couple is seen above alongside the late former New York City Mayor Ed Koch at the Strand in June 2007

Bass Wyden inherited the business from her father, Fred Bass (right), who died in 2018. At the time of his death, Fred Bass’ estate was said to be worth $25million

The extent of Bass Wyden’s wealth has been reported in years past. She is married to Democrat senator Ron Wyden. 

According to The Oregonian/Oregon Live, disclosure forms from 2011 revealed that Nancy Bass Wyden owned between $12million and $56million in assets ranging from real estate properties to stock and other securities.

Those assets include The Strand Building, where the bookstore is located. The building at 828 Broadway is valued at just north of $41million, according to Property Shark

Recent disclosure forms reveal that Nancy Bass Wyden purchased between $115,000 and $250,000 worth of stock in Amazon, the online retailer that has been blamed for driving independent bookstores and other brick-and-mortar shops out of business, according to Barron’s.

Bass Wyden made three purchases of Amazon securities between April 6 and May 1, when the pandemic forced businesses in New York City and other parts of the country to shut down.

In total, Bass Wyden owns between $220,010 and $600,000 in Amazon stock.

Her investment in Amazon came despite the fact that she publicly lamented how politicians were giving Jeff Bezos’ firm corporate tax breaks.

Bass Wyden came out against Amazon’s plan to build a second headquarters in the New York City borough of Queens.

Amazon chose to build a new campus in the Long Island City section of Queens, but abandoned those plans in the face of stiff local opposition who said it would have driven up the cost of living.

Strand Book Store put out a call for help on Twitter on Friday, saying that its cash reserves were ‘depleted’

In the same tweet thread, the store said: ‘We have survived so much in the past 93 years, and we are ready to fight against all odds to keep The Strand alive, but we cannot do it without book lovers like you’

‘I’m going to pull out all the stops to keep sharing our mutual love of the printed word,’ Bass Wyden said. ‘But for the first time in The Strand’s 93 year history, we need to mobilize the community to buy from us so we can keep our doors open until there is a vaccine’

‘The fact is unless we stop them, local and state politicians will continue to advantage Big Tech over longstanding local businesses,’ Bass Wyden wrote in an op-ed for CNN last year.

‘And without the powerful team of lawyers necessary to take on City Hall, small businesses will continue to suffer.’

She told Barron’s in June: ‘As a small-business owner trying to maintain operations during difficult times, it was necessary for me to diversify my personal portfolio and invest in stocks that are performing.

‘I have to make sure that I have the resources to keep The Strand going.

‘I continue to stand against the unfair giveaways from local governments to giant corporations like Amazon, but the economic opportunity presented by the unfortunate downturn in the market will allow me to keep The Strand in business.

Senator Ron Wyden’s disclosure forms from 2019 reveal that his wife owns millions of dollars worth of assets, including commercial and residential real estate as well as stock options and other securities

Among Bass Wyden’s holdings in her portfolio are government bonds and other securities

She also owns stock in Intel, Exxon Mobil, Pfizer, and other biomedical firms, according to the disclosure forms

The above disclosure forms list some of Bass Wyden’s real estate holdings

‘I would also like to clarify that these are my personal finances, not Ron’s, and we do not discuss my business or my investments.’

At around the same time that Bass Wyden purchased Amazon stock, she also laid off 188 employees of Strand at the start of the pandemic even though the store had received a PPP loan between $1million and $2million.

The government extended the loan to the bookstore on condition that it continue to employ 212 of its workers.

Bass Wyden said at the time she hoped to rehire them as soon as it was financially possible to do so, according to The Baffler.

In July, Strand rehired 33 union members, but a dozen other employees were laid off again.

The layoffs came even as the company moved ahead with plans to open up two new locations – one on the affluent Upper West Side of Manhattan and the other in a new terminal being built at LaGuardia Airport. 

The impassioned plea from Strand prompted several writers and authors to urge their Twitter followers to help out the store

‘Wow. If the Strand is struggling can you imagine how small bookstores are faring?’ tweeted Nanjala Nyabola. ‘If you’re giving books as gifts this Christmas or just buying books in general please order from a bookshop?’

Greg Proops, the actor and stand-up comedian best known for appearing on the hit TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, tweeted a photo of himself signing his book for a fan at the Strand. ‘We love @strandbookstore,’ Proops tweeted.

Natasha Rothwell, the actor and comedian, tweeted: ‘BUY BOOKS!’

Arianna Huffington, the journalist and founder of Huffington Post, tweeted: ‘If you’re looking for books for your holiday gift list…’

Comedian Jim Gaffigan also shared the Strand’s tweets, calling on his ‘NYC friends’ to help out.

Patton Oswalt tweeted: ‘I’m going online shopping at the @strandbookstore today. I hope you do the same?’

Workers were also enraged to learn that since April, Bass Wyden bought between $3million and $7.9million in stock, according to Senate filings.

Her portfolio of holdings includes shares in Alphabet/Google, Apple, Facebook, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, 3M, and other blue-chip companies.

DailyMail.com has reached out to Strand and Bass Wyden for comment.

Bass Wyden is the daughter of Fred Bass, the man who inherited the business when it was a small used-book store run by his father and made it into an iconic Manhattan brand.

After Fred Bass retired, Nancy Bass Wyden took over the store. Fred Bass died at his Manhattan home in January 2018. He was 89 years old.

At the time of his death, Fred Bass’ estate was reported to be worth $25million.

The impassioned appeal by Bass Wyden for assistance from shoppers appeared to work as several high-profile Twitter users like comedians Patton Oswalt and Jim Gaffigan spread the word.

Others on Twitter pledged to shop at the store, whose web site reportedly crashed due to the high volume of well-wishers eager to keep Strand alive.

Others on Twitter were not as sympathetic to Bass Wyden, who was accused of ‘hating the store’s union’

Macie Colleen noted that Bass Wyden owns the building where the store is located and ‘doesn’t support bookstore unions’

‘I feel conflicted over this plea for help,’ tweeted Marcie Colleen

Another Twitter user noted that Bass Wyden could have kept paying her employees with the money she used to buy Amazon stock

Others on Twitter noted Bass Wyden’s considerable wealth as well as her decision to lay off employees even though she received PPP loans from the government

Liz Denys tweeted: ‘As a reminder, The Strand’s owner, Nancy Bass Wyden, is very rich, owns The Strand’s building, and has invested millions of her own dollars into her personal stock portfolio to during the pandemic while letting employees struggle’

‘I love independent bookstores and have certainly gotten lost in The Strand on numerous occasions, but this feels weird when lots of other independent bookstores in the city that aren’t owned by very wealthy people are struggling, too,’ Denys tweeted

One Twitter user noted: ‘I have ~27,450 tweets abt @strandbookstore in my TL: it’s *not* a small business that needs your help. ‘The bldg is owned outright by Nancy Bass Wyden, wife of Sen. @RonWyden & she squandered PPP buying Amazon shares. ‘There are numerous other true indie bookstores that need you!’ 

‘We are working to get the website back in full working order, but do keep refreshing that browser!’ the store tweeted.

‘It should be faster this evening and tomorrow. Thank you so much for all the support!!!

‘You are amazing.’

Writers and authors asked their Twitter followers to pitch in and help.

‘Wow. If the Strand is struggling can you imagine how small bookstores are faring?’ tweeted Nanjala Nyabola.

‘If you’re giving books as gifts this Christmas or just buying books in general please order from a bookshop?’

Author Gary Shteyngart tweeted: ‘New Yorkers, please buy from the Strand!

‘The city would be a s*** bucket without it.’

Greg Proops, the actor and stand-up comedian best known for appearing on the hit TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, tweeted a photo of himself signing his book for a fan at the Strand.

‘We love @strandbookstore,’ Proops tweeted.

Natasha Rothwell, the actor and comedian, tweeted: ‘BUY BOOKS!’

Comedian Jim Gaffigan also shared the Strand’s tweets, calling on his ‘NYC friends’ to help out.

Patton Oswalt tweeted: ‘I’m going online shopping at the @strandbookstore today. I hope you do the same?’

Arianna Huffington, the journalist and founder of Huffington Post, tweeted: ‘If you’re looking for books for your holiday gift list…’

Strand Book Store has some 18 miles of 2.5 million used, new, and rare books. Its Union Square location is seen in the above file photo

But others on Twitter noted Bass Wyden’s considerable wealth as well as her decision to lay off employees even though she received PPP loans from the government.

One Twitter user noted: ‘I have ~27,450 tweets abt @strandbookstore in my TL: it’s *not* a small business that needs your help.

‘The bldg is owned outright by Nancy Bass Wyden, wife of Sen. @RonWyden & she squandered PPP buying Amazon shares.

‘There are numerous other true indie bookstores that need you!’

Liz Denys tweeted: ‘As a reminder, The Strand’s owner, Nancy Bass Wyden, is very rich, owns The Strand’s building, and has invested millions of her own dollars into her personal stock portfolio to during the pandemic while letting employees struggle.

‘I love independent bookstores and have certainly gotten lost in The Strand on numerous occasions, but this feels weird when lots of other independent bookstores in the city that aren’t owned by very wealthy people are struggling, too.’

Josephine Stewart tweeted: ‘The Strand used to be one of my very favorite places in NYC, but the owner’s behavior has really soured me on it.

‘Hey, Nancy Bass-Wyden, how about you sell some stocks and bail yourself out.

‘You’ve already taken PPP money and still fired most of your employees.’

Another Twitter user commented: ‘Don’t fall for this. Nancy Bass Wyden – married to Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon – owns the building that Strand resides in, has taken PPP loans and invested in AMAZON stock, and wasn’t providing PPE for employees.’

A Twitter user who goes by the name ‘Merritt K’ tweeted: ‘Non-New Yorkers losing their minds over the Strand news: you should know that the owner, Nancy Bass Wyden, owns the building, has bought Amazon stock, and hates the store’s union.’

Marcie Colleen noted: ‘The owner has stock in Amazon, doesn’t support bookstore unions, owns the building. It’s just as bad.’

She added: ‘Lotsa info out there about how the employees are all broke while the company is run by a millionaire. So I feel conflicted over this plea for help.’

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