Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bay Books - Half Moon Bay, CA

Bay Books - Half Moon Bay, CA
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Independent Bookstores are my happy places.  I go, I visit, I browse, I'm happy.  The folks in Half Moon Bay, CA are losing a happy place.  As you read this, Bay Books is now closed after a long successful run.  I visited here on a Monday and the store was closing on Wednesday.  I barely made it in time, but I got to visit while the store was in its final breaths.  There were many dear friends coming to pay their respects in these, the final hours of Bay Books.  

Bay Books, 37, passed away after a brief illness on July 15, 2015.  It was surrounded by many long-time friends as well as Jeff B., manager, and Jamilla, C., a bookseller, both faithful until the end.  For many years, it was a healthy, vibrant independent bookstore, featuring frequent author events.  It was the only indie I've met that had a walk-in humidor with a wide variety of cigars.  Where will I ever find another bookstore with that combination?

The end came suddenly for Bay Books.  It was announced one week prior that the lease would not be renewed.  It is not known what will become of unsold inventory or what will become of the Bay Books corpse.  Survivors include the many fine indies scattered around the country.  In lieu of flowers, please consider purchasing a book at your favorite indie.

Condolences poured in from customers during my entire visit.  "I used to bring my grandkids here and now they're in college."  "We're in mourning."  "I just joined your book club a month ago and now you're closing."  (I overheard these exact quotes from customers in the store).  And I'm sure this is just the tip of the iceberg.  This store DID have great local support from everything I could see.  I don't know the business circumstances that forced Bay Books to close but I don't think lack of local support was one of them.

On the sad day of my visit, I had a great talk with Jeff and Jamilla.  The store was very busy on this Monday morning and prices were reduced on everything.  Jeff didn't know the reason or the whys, and this announcement caught them off-guard.  I don't know what these two terrific people will do but I think they'll land on their feet.  The Bay Area has a lot of indies and any of them would be lucky to have their talent on staff.

Readers, go to your local indie before it is too late because Bay Books is an example of you never know what will happen, just like life.  Go to an indie and buy a book in their memory.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  We Are Called To Rise, Laura McBride.  Fantastic story told by four different characters whose stories finally merge in a most heartbreaking way.  I'll be watching for more from this author.  Highly recommended.  

CURRENTLY READING:  Blackout, Sarah Hepola.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  H Is For Hawk, Helen Macdonald.  

Wonderful front window display.  

The sign says it all.  

Looking into the store from the front entrance.  

The only indie I've visited with a walk-in humidor. 

If I were a cigar smoker, I would've been all over this.  Cigars and books!

One of the fiction displays.  

Everything on sale.  

A portion of the children's section.  

View from the rear of the store looking toward the front entrance.  

Poster-sized book covers were around the store.  

Wait a minute.  Cigars, books, AND pipes??!!  

Forced smiles on a sad day.  Jamilla on the left and Jeff in the middle.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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