Just over a week and a half ago, I had the opportunity to see Cheryl Strayed discuss her amazing book, Wild, at Capitola Book Café. I’ll write about the book soon enough, but first I wanted to tell you all about the bookstore.
While I have been long familiar with Bookshop Santa Cruz, I was totally unaware of Capitola Book Café. It’s surprising because I spent plenty of time in the area as a kid, so I can say now that I kind of missed out on a gem of a bookstore that was sitting right in front of my nose.
On June 21st, I began to rectify that mistake.
As independent bookstores go, this one does not disappoint. It showcases local authors, hosts fabulous events, and goes out of its way to have as profound an impact in the local community as possible. The staff is passionate (as one might expect), not only about books in general, but about the role the bookstore plays in Capitola. Now, the store is fighting for its very life.
I say this not to be dramatic, it is a simple fact. Just like independent bookstores all over, they are fighting against a sagging economy, a rapidly changing book selling marketplace, and online behemoths that shall remain unnamed. The unique thing about Capitola Book Café is, they have devised a great plan to put themselves in a position to not only survive…but thrive for many years to come.
They call their plan, appropriately, Survive & Thrive.
The plan lays out how they will reorganize their business, by restructuring how they run their bookstore and creating a non-profit arm called Books Belong, which will “create, implement and manage the bookstore’s events, workshops, classes, educational and cultural outreach“.
In order to make proper renovations to their store and be financially able to establish the non-profit arm, they have been running a great fund-raising campaign. The campaign itself began on May 20th and has now been extended due to popular demand to the end of July. (Please note: the end-date of this campaign is still in the process of being updated on their website…I promise, the campaign ends on July 31st).
What I like so much about this kind of forward-thinking approach, is that the bookstore is not only letting their customers know that they are fighting to stay alive, but they created a plan that actively involves the community in their efforts to stay in business. Therefore, it helps foster a sense of pride and significantly, creates a vital emotional investment in the bookstore. Those that have been loyal customers already know what the bookstore provides to their community. The raising of awareness reminds those who may not always choose to shop there that they offer something beyond putting a book in your hand. That sentiment is present in every great independent bookstore open today.
In order to help reach their goals, they hosted their first Local Author Extravaganza, which by all accounts was a great success. The calendar is, as always, packed to the gills with author events, workshops and fundraisers. They are also selling some really cute t-shirts, tote bags and mugs. Exhibit A:
I apologize for the cliché of taking a picture of myself in a mirror. When you’re at the house alone, these things happen.
Moving right along…
This month, they will be hosting raffles featuring prizes such as naming your own character in an upcoming book by Laurie R. King (who wrote The Beekeeper’s Apprentice). They also have plans to publish a book of the stories and pieces written exclusively for the Local Author’s Extravaganza event.
Thankfully, the community is responding positively to their efforts (they even had a young customer bring in his allowance as a donation), but they have a bit more to go before they meet their goals. I have been told that there are more events in the works, so if you are interested in any of the great things planned, you should keep an eye on their event calendar! If you’d simply like to help out by purchasing a t-shirt, a mug, or a tote bag, you can do so on their website. In the meantime, check out the links below & follow them everywhere!
Capitola Book Café Links:
Facebook: Capitola Book Café
For more information on the Survive & Thrive Campaign: Survive & Thrive