Our long goodbye to you, our wonderful supporters...
Dear friends, neighbors, and fellow book lovers:
It is with heavy hearts that we announce that Capitola Book Cafe will close its doors for good at the end of February.
When four employees took the helm of Capitola Book Cafe in 2007, allowing our beloved bosses to finally retire, we considered ourselves the next four lucky caretakers of a treasured community resource that has provided millions of books, thousands of author signings, countless hours of discovery, and a bottomless cup of coffee to readers for 34 years. In retrospect, our timing on the brink of a severe economic downturn and rapidly changing book industry was far from optimal, but we were passionate, driven, and committed to keeping this wonderful place alive. Through hard work, the generosity of our customers, and the support of bosses who never managed to fully “retire,” we made it for seven years. Sadly, it's time to move on.
It became clear a couple of years ago that a large, general, destination bookstore like ours was unsustainable. We knew that in order to survive, we had to become smaller. We told our story to the community and everyone pulled together to look for solutions. Friends and customers stepped up to offer expertise, money, and support. Our amazing landlord put out the word to potential tenants who might share our space. A talented baker stepped in to take over our cafe. We shortened hours, changed staffing schedules, and slashed or eliminated owner salaries. We offered a membership plan and raised funds to dedicate the bookshelves we envisioned in a new space, while placing customer orders as often as possible to make up for their leanness in the current one. We made a dwindling budget stretch beyond the laws of physics. All of this granted us time, but despite everyone's efforts, a long-term solution never materialized. And though we have continued to explore possibilities, we no longer have the capacity to do so.
We know that those of you who love Capitola Book Cafe, as we do, can chart your history in its bookshelves. We've watched you work on your novels, gush about seeing your favorite authors, argue in your world affairs book group, and laugh over a glass of wine or beer with your friends. Some of you grew up here, and have since brought your own children, even your grandchildren to Monday morning story hour. It makes us proud, which makes this decision all the more painful. We leave knowing what a privilege it has been to spend these years in the company of books and book lovers. We also know how lucky we are to still have local independent bookstores like Bookshop Santa Cruz and Crossroads in Watsonville. Let's heed this reminder not to take them for granted, but to remember that each of us plays a part in determining their value and sustainability.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to the city of Capitola, the Ow family, countless book industry folks, and a long list of thoughtful, inspiring authors. Thanks to the previous owners of Capitola Book Cafe, who handed down such a gem, to Mika and her staff, who took the cafe to the next level, and to the very special community members who funded our initial transition into ownership. We wish that we had ended up in a position to repay those giant leaps of faith. Thank you as well to the countless people who have worked at the store over the years, especially our current employees, who have labored tirelessly beside us during difficult, uncertain times, always giving 110 percent. They are the store's beating heart, and have become family to coworkers and customers alike. Finally, we return to you, our customers. Thank you for coming in, hanging out, sharing your stories, and growing with us. We have loved nothing more than to put the right book into your hands at the right moment, and are infinitely grateful we had the opportunity to do so.
We will be liquidating everything in stock along with our fixtures throughout the month of February. Our aim is to close the store under the best possible circumstances, so we must ask for your help one more time. Please come buy books and tell everyone you know to do the same. Load up on classics at great prices. Or weird graphic novels. Or surf magazines. Buy yourself that card rack you've always wanted, or prepare for the collapse of the internet and global infrastructure by making sure you have reading materials stashed away in your survival bunker. The best way you can pay tribute to this magical place is to leave it the way you did on your best day here, with a pile of books in your hands.
We're sorry beyond words that we couldn’t keep Capitola Book Cafe open for generations to come. We gave it our all, and then some.
Yours, Wendy, Melinda & all of us at Capitola Book Café