Well, it's now public! Laurel Book Store in Oakland will be moving into a ground floor space in the First National Bank Building, now known as the Lionel Wilson Building at
14th and Broadway. It was most recently a bank, so it looks very
From Luan Strauss, owner:
Dear Reader & Friend of Laurel Book Store,
I am so happy to announce that we have secured a new location for the store!
As many of you know, about a year ago, knowing that our lease would end
last month, I started looking for a larger space with better
flexibility for events, better access to transportation, and a bit more
foot traffic. The store took a hit when Lucky's supermarket left and it
didn't get any better with the discount market that took its place. Many
of the businesses on the boulevard have felt the slowdown. I
began working with a great team of real estate professionals in Heidi
Kearsley and Nicolette Sommer, and they showed me quite a few places.
All of them needed this done or that done or were in locations that just
didn't seem right. Then they asked me to meet them at a spot
that was both larger than I specified and closer to downtown than we had
been looking into so far. Do you know that feeling when you
walk into a place and it just feels right? Like you can instantly
imagine what you'd do with the space, how you'd spend your time there,
and who would walk in and be happy to be there? That's what
happened to me. I felt it. But just to make sure, we arranged another
visit and I took two rational, level-headed people to see it. They
immediately had the same feeling I did. And now, after much working of paper, many sleepless nights, and a great deal of planning, it's finally real. We will be moving into a ground floor space in the First National Bank Building, now known as the Lionel Wilson Building
at 14th and Broadway. It was most recently a bank, so it looks very
elegant. (And one friend wisely noted that it's used to money already.) The corner spot at the pointed end of the building right next to us is under construction to be the Downtown Wine Merchants.
Oaklandish, Bittersweet, Awaken Cafe, The Tribune Tavern, and Pro Arts
are all just steps away. The Marriott is four blocks away, the Fox is
five and the Paramount is seven. There is a daily population of 100,000
office workers, and yes, there is parking. (Some with validation!)
Several lots are within a short block and there are many on street
spaces on the other side of Broadway. Plus there are buses and of course
BART. We still have online ordering and can mail your books and of
course we will continue to offer ebooks right from our website.
We would never have been able to take this step had it not been for 13
amazing years in the Laurel District with some of the most wonderful
customers and friends anywhere. That's why I won't change the store
name, I know where my roots are. We're already fielding questions, so here are some FAQs. (Or in some cases FOQs- Freaking Out Questions)
Why? (or, Why are you doing this to me?)
I love the neighborhood, I live in Maxwell Park, and I hope to see many
of my customers in the shiny new location. I never thought I'd stay in
this 900 sq. ft. space for 13 years. I've always planned for a larger
store. While it would have been nice to stay in the Laurel or nearby,
economics led me to widen my search field. I am looking forward to
temperature control, not to have to move heavy bookcases for events, and
most of all, the opportunity to truly grow the business.
When Will It Happen? (or, When do I have to pick up the book I ordered?)
Much depends on the work that needs to be done. I have a crackerjack
contractor and we'll work hard to open as soon as possible. Best guess
is early October. It looks like we'll be in the current store through
September, but that could change. (So pick up your book now.)
Why downtown? It's so far away! (or, Why can't you stay close to my house?)
See above. And I've heard people say that they either take BART often
or they go downtown for social events as often as I have from people who
predict that they will never see us again. If you haven't been downtown
lately- give it a chance. There is more life there now than there has
been in many years thanks to the enterprising business people who are
there. I'm honored to be joining the mix.
Is There Parking? (or, Okay, I'll try, but how far will I have to walk?) Yes, there's parking. Many on street spots and several lots within a block or so.
What About All Those Other Things You Do? (or, What about package receiving, Maxwell Park items, and getting my book quickly?)
I'm making arrangements for a business on the boulevard to offer to
accept packages for those who need that. I'm talking with others about
carrying the Maxwell Park shirts, and I'm even talking with a business
about having a book hold bin so that we have a secure place to drop off
your order where it would be easy to pick up. And you can always have
something mailed to you. Of course we want you to come to the store, but
I understand the reality of geography.
Okay, okay. Sounds great. How Can I Help? (or, I'm reluctantly happy for you.)
We're so grateful for all the offers to help that we've already
received. We will definitely be having a book-packing party at the
current store, and an unpacking party at the new store. Please continue
to support us while we're here and bring your business downtown when we
move. In addition to our investment and an SBA loan, we are raising funds through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. Please click here to join in and get some great perks in the bargain.
And please spread the word. If you work downtown, let people know that
they will now have a bookstore in the neighborhood. If you want a flier
to post, I'll have one ready soon. And again, thank you for all your support. I couldn't have done it without you. Literally.