We are thrilled to introduce the new owners of Point Reyes Books, Molly Parent and Stephen Sparks. Experienced booksellers and heartfelt bibliophiles, they met seven years ago at Green Apple Books in San Francisco where they both worked. They will take over stewardship of the bookstore on January 1. We couldn't be happier and feel certain you will be, too, as you get to know them and see their thoughtful and knowledgeable selection of books and events unfold in the coming months. You can meet them in person at our benefit farewell event with author Terry Tempest Williams this Saturday, October 22.
Stephen Sparks grew up in New Jersey and managed a bookstore on the Jersey Shore for several years. He moved to San Francisco in 2007 and immediately began working at Green Apple. He became the primary new book buyer there for both of its locations and was responsible for establishing the store on Ninth Avenue which he has managed since 2014. Stephen also serves on the steering committee of the Bay Area Book Festival and has been a juror for various literary prizes, including the Best Translated Book Award, the American Booksellers Association Indies Choice Award, and National Endowment for the Arts awards.
Molly Parent left Green Apple in 2012 to work at 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center co-founded by author Dave Eggers. It serves under-resourced students in San Francisco and helps teachers inspire students to write. Molly will continue her work as Communications Manager of 826 Valencia in addition to taking over communications for Point Reyes Books.
Both Molly and Stephen have long dreamed of owning their own store and have frequented Point Reyes and our bookstore for years. Though this opportunity came a little sooner then they might have anticipated, they decided to jump right in. They’re also getting married in November, so they will wed and purchased a business in the span of six weeks’ time. They currently live in San Francisco but will be moving to Marin in the new year.
When we decided last spring to sell the store, we wanted to create a thoughtful process to help us discern who best would build on the store’s legacy as both a literary hub and a community-serving business. We received 27 letters of interest from around the country! Stephen and Molly were our top choice based on their deep experience in the bookselling and literacy worlds and because they are beloved in the Bay Area book community. They’re both in their ‘30s, and they represent the next generation of creative, energetic entrepreneurial booksellers. We’re really pleased to have such capable and likeable stewards for Point Reyes Books.
The couple is financing the purchase of the store through a group of local and other investors. In addition, they have created an Indiegogo crowdfunding site seeking a $30,000 start-up fund to help launch their vision. We ask that you consider supporting them in one of the following ways:
- Donate to their Indiegogo crowdfunding site for donations with some benefits.
- Renew or open a Community Supported Bookstore (CSB) membership. This is the program we created six years ago to help us through the lean months of the year. You initially become a member by depositing $150 or more into an account at the store, then draw against the balance when you purchase books or other goods. Not only will this provide working capital for Molly and Stephen, CSB also members receive a 5% discount.
- Continue shopping at Point Reyes Books. We know all too well how hard it is to keep a bookstore thriving. We have great confidence in Molly and Stephen, but they will need your support during this transition and as they settle into ownership of a small business.
We encourage you to come by the store and introduce yourself, welcome them, and help ensure their success as the next generation of Point Reyes' booksellers. You can communicate directly with them, should you want to before January 1, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send us any questions or comments you might have regarding this transition. As we head into the final weeks of our service, it's truly a bittersweet and grateful time for us.
Kate and Steve