Saturday, April 29, 2006

THE WORKS: THE LITTLE BOOKSTORE THAT COULD

THE WORKS IN PACIFIC GROVE, CALIFORNIANothing gives me greater pleasure (some things do but they aren’t appropriate to talk about here) than going into a local bookstore and checking out what’s new. So it was with extreme joy that I attended the grand opening of The Works – formerly Bookworks – here in little Pacific Grove, California.

The aforementioned Bookworks was an area icon, a place where tourists and locals alike flitted in and out of for years. It also had quite a few owners over the past two decades and was under threat of “going under” several times. Pacific Grovians sweated out all of these threats and were happy to see this little-store-that-could sputter but survive.

Now under the ownership of Robert Marcum and his wife Leela, the store has taken on Coffee Bar at The Worksan entirely new look and feel. A full half of the stores’ activities are now dedicated to coffee, tea and refreshments, as well as local artist displays and a wedge-of-a-stage for poetry readings, etc. The wonderful aroma of pastries and coffee beans now wafts onto Lighthouse Ave (the official entrance to the coffee bar). Walk back through a small hallway and you come into a wall that will (from now on) hold paintings and artwork by local artists. After looking at the art, turn around and you’ll come face to face with the much smaller, yet cozy, bookstore.

Although tiny by bookstore standards, the shelves of literary tomes remain intact and The New Lay-Out For The Works Bookstoreunder the able guidance of manager Pamela Hensley, formerly of the now defunct Thunderbird Bookshop. Pam has been given unbridled control when dealing with the bookstore and its inventory, and this is undeniably a wonderful thing (that’s Pam behind the register). Her book selections are tight in the limited space but amazingly well laid out. Children’s books, mysteries, science fiction, bestsellers, and every genre you could possibly think of dot little coveys and holes throughout the newly renovated space.

The grand re-opening of the store was greeted by a horde of locals. While I was there snapping pictures, I continually bumped into people, elbow to elbow as we were, yet smiles remained the face the day.

When new owner Robert Marcum cut the ceremonial ribbon then took the microphone and announced, “This isn’t just my store, it’s yours,” applause broke out because we all felt the same way. This is our store …and it always will be.

Robert Marcum cuts the ceremonial ribbon, surrounded by Pacific Grovians

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