Rumor has it that BookPeople of Moscow was founded in 1973 by Ivar Nelson and has been downtown ever since, making it one of the longest lived indie bookstores in the country. 521 S. Main is the store's third location, and hopefully, its permanent home. We would like to fill out our knowledge of the store's early days by inviting folks who remember anything at all about BookPeople pre-2012 to share it with us, and we'll celebrate our 40th birthday in 2013 by creating a collection of these memories here on our webpage. Send your memories to our email address, send us a card, or drop by with an actual piece of paper, that we promise not to lose.
When longtime owner Robert Greene decided to retire and move to Portland in 2011 the future of the store was uncertain and a great group of bookstore supporters met regularly for months to figure out how to keep BookPeople alive. Thanks to the encouragement of these true bookpeople, the store was purchased by Steffen and Nicole Werner and Walt and Carol Spurling in December of 2011. The underlying business is officially named BooX Without Borders Inc., but the store is still called BookPeople of Moscow.
With the sale a sure thing in November of 2011, and announced publicly at 11:11 am on 11/11/2011, Robert Greene began moving his stock of mostly used books out of the store with the help of a large crew of volunteers who worked long hours for beer and pizza. Bob chose midnight on Dec. 28th, 2011, as his move out deadline and he and his crew just made it, in an epic effort that won't soon be forgotten. Longtime employee Betsy was offered a position at the new store, but sadly, turned it down. During the transition, BookPeople's new owners kept the New York Times available by stocking it at One World Cafe, and allowed the community to keep tabs on our progress by leaving the front windows uncovered, and the door unlocked while we worked.
After a complete remodeling and restocking, accomplished with a hugely talented crew of local folks (see list below), the store-reopened for business on February 22, 2012. An outpouring of community support even before the very first day of business got the store off to a strong start and with every community member's continuing devotion and commitment to shopping local and indie, BookPeople will survive long into the future. We celebrated our grand opening on May 17, 2012 with a big gathering of local authors who by autographed their books for the crowds. A huge cake from the Moscow Food Co-op and gallons of lemonade were devoured by all. We look forward to celebrating the store's 40th birthday with an even bigger party in 2013!
Who helped the Spurlings and Werners get the store re-opened for business? It's a long list:
Jesica DeHart (woman of many ideas), Dominic Wells (store clean-up, book shelving), Jonah Mix (store clean-up and book shelving), Richard Yutzy (all around handyman and guy with a big truck), John Pool (vacuuming and moral support), Jyotsna Sreenivasan (vacuuming and moral support), Kat Brown (book shelving), Pat Bower (book shelving), Pat Gilham (Book shelving and organization), Kenton Bird (moral support), Gary Williams (thrift store donation run and moral support), Tom Lamar (sidewalk sweeping and moral support), Antone G. Holmquist (painting and lots of talk!), Seneca Cummings (painting and hardly any talk), Isaak Julye (trimwork, shelving assembly, handyman extraordinaire), Bill Bonner (counter and wooden shelving), Cece Connors (painting), Rebekka Boysen-Taylor (moral support), Keeley Mix (moral support and paper towels), Isaac Wright and Master's Touch Woodworking (bamboo shelving millwork and finishwork), Andy Carr (bamboo flooring installation, CarpetMill (carpet and tile), Natural Abode (flooring and shelving materials), Trent Nelson (New York Times delivery), One World Cafe (awesome coffee and temporary office and meeting space), Sterling Savings Bank...