MONTREAL -- S.W.Welch Bookseller, the Montreal bookstore facing closure after rent allegedly rose 150 per cent, will remain open for two more years.

“My landlord has had a change of heart,” read a social media post from the bookstore’s owner.

“I went up a little and he went down a lot … we have negotiated the lease for two more years at which point I will retire.”

In February, the Mile-End store made headlines after the owner, Stephen Welch, claimed his landlord hiked up his rent while he was getting ready to reopen from lockdown.

He claims it was the second time the company that owns the building, ShillerLavy, increased costs. Two years ago, the company push up his rent 70 per cent, he says.

Community members rallied around the store, drawing the attention of Louise Penny, the Quebec co-author on an upcoming book with former American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“We need to support and defend our bookstores. They are a vital part of a vibrant community, like all small, independent businesses,” she wrote.

Welch expressed his gratitude online Monday.

“The outpouring of love and concern by so many people to our plight has been amazing and in the end effective [towards] achieving this result, thank you!!” he wrote.

He said that the relaxed rental prices have not only allowed him to stay open, but also to expand his library.

“I will endeavour to stock the store with unexpected titles, great reads and unusual finds, and to this end I am actively buying, so sell me some wouldja!”

After the new two-year lease is up, Welch said he plans to retire from the business.


-- This is a developing story that will be updated.