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This is its th year in business, the last 70 of them in a building on Girard Avenue in La Jolla. A couple of months ago, fourth-generation owner Nancy Warwick got unexpected news that made her wonder how much longer the store would be in existence. The landlord had accepted. Warwick, who had been negotiating a new lease, was given 15 days to beat the offer or face an uncertain future with a new landlord.
In short order, a deal was put together. About three-dozen community members, most of them from La Jolla, pooled their resources and bought the building.
Then they gave Warwick a year lease, with two five-year renewal options — at least 20 more years to continue the family business. I feel honored to have that kind of support. The rise of price-cutting Amazon and the ease of online ordering decimated the bottom lines of brick-and-mortar stores. By the yearthe of bookstores in America had fallen 43 percent. They focused on the idea of community, on their stores as places where people gather to share stories. Profit margins remained thin, but physical stores made a comeback in recent years. Their s rose, at least as measured by membership in the American Booksellers Association.
Bookstores closed for in-person shopping for months and scrambled to handle orders over the phone or online. They used curbside pick-up for books, and in some cases delivered them in person. Anything to stay afloat, which not all stores were able to manage. Navigating the pandemic was hard enough, Warwick said. The last thing she needed was uncertainty about the building the store had called home since William T. Warwick got the family business started in when he bought a bookstore in Mankato, Minn. Twenty years later, he moved his family and the store to Waterloo, Iowa.
He sold it in after he arranged to buy a different bookstore in La Jolla, where his sister lived. Warwick changed the name to his, and the store has been in operation in La Jolla ever since, although not always in its current location. It moved there in and has added space as neighboring storefronts became available. The store now occupies about 10, square feet, including storage upstairs.
William Warwick sold the store in to son Charles and wife Louisewho passed it on to son Bob and wife Marian in For most of their time here, the Warwicks have been dealing with the same landlord, which makes this a story about two families, not just one. The building at Girard Ave. Martha Corey, was the first female physician in La Jolla. Nancy Warwick said she remembers visiting the store as and playing there. She used to ride up and down in a dumb-waiter that moved supplies between the floors.
The negotiations for a new one took their unexpected turn in February, with word that the building was being sold.
And owning a building in a prime area of La Jolla seems like a pretty safe long-term bet. Even in the pandemic, it has a good balance sheet. Avoyer said very few of the people approached about investing said no. It helped that Nancy Warwick and her sister, along with their husbands, put money in. So did McGrory and Avoyer. The other buyer had offered her a three-year lease, which was shorter than she wanted. And when it ended, what then? She suspected there were plans to redevelop the property, use it for something else, squeeze her out.
The feeling, apparently, was mutual. In the end, 30 more investors came on board. They include Lynn Schenk, a former local congresswoman, and Karin Winner, former editor of the Union-Tribune, as well as members of families well known in philanthropic, cultural and financial circles: Galinson, Cohn, Sudberry, Sickels, Evans. Escrow closed Wednesday. COVID-willing, a return to author events in the fall. After decades-long absence, House of Mexico debuts in Balboa Park. Unusual October storm leaves awestruck San Diego in its wake.
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