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Mystery bookshop Once Upon A Crime turns to GoFundMe to stay in business

Once Upon A Crime has a cult following in the Twin Cities.

Crime doesn't pay, and neither do crime books.

That's the case at Once Upon A Crime, the independent mystery bookstore in Minneapolis that has a cult following, but is struggling to stay afloat.

The store, which has resided on West 26th Street in the Whittier Neighborhood for 31 years, was bought by current owners and long-time fans Dennis Abraham and Meg King-Abraham in 2016.

But now the couple are turning to an unusual source for help, GoFundMe, after a decline in sales and mounting debt is putting the future of the bookstore at risk.

On their GoFundMe page, which has raised almost $12,000 out of a $50,000 target in two days, King-Abraham says the store has been impacted by the introduction of a bike lane outside the store, which has eliminated the closest street parking.

It also says ongoing road construction has made getting to the store difficult.

"We are hopeful that when this work is complete, our location will once again be easily accessible for book lovers!" they say.

The money they raised will be used to pay down debt to ensure the store can remain in the neighborhood for the foreseeable future.

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It has been making efforts to expand its reach, launching a new website, boosting its Google, Yelp and social media presence, and has even been offering personalized shopping services.

In the store itself, it's created a puzzle room and has reconfigured the layout so it can host book clubs, as well as listing some of its rare and vintage books on eBay.

"The funds will allow us to keep this treasured bookstore up and running," King-Abraham writes. "We are confident that if we can pay off a portion of the debt, we will be able to maintain the business for many years to come!"

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