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 The Next Chapter -  more of the Davis years
  225 G  Street, Davis
  June 1992 - February 1998     

Once we had filled the Mansion Square space from top to bottom we started looking around for a bigger location. Our Mansion sales were ever-growing, but we were still in search of anything resembling a profit. Then we saw this big space up on G Street come available, and we took the plunge. It had a very high ceiling (over 14 feet) with the walls covered completely in slatwall, we could display books and artwork all the way to the ceiling, and there were many big front windows at street level. Compared to our subterranean view from Mansion Square, our view out the front windows of the new space seemed unlimited. It was a BIG space to fill.

 

A strange footnote. When we started telling people about the possibility of the new space, some people told us that was good, and they loved our store, but they didn't "do" G Street. It wasn't anything about some thing, or some one on the street, but this street just wasn't in their pattern, in their habit of shopping. We were amazed that people could be so set in their ways that moving two blocks, took us off the face of the earth for some customers. It couldn't have been many people, but there were some who never make the harrowing trek all the way to 225 G. As some who's been in retail all his life, meeting a steady flow of people every day, I'm constantly amazed at how some people see things and make their decisions in life. Damn - if it doesn't keep it all interesting.

 

g street in davis   G street

I started making seemingly countless bays of shelves in my garage, to cover all the long walls in the new space. I had sold all the wall shelves that covered everything at the Mansion space so that the people who owned the coffeehouse next door there, could open the bookstore they had dreamed of doing. The book world can be a small world at times - the woman that co-owned the coffeehouse and I had both worked for different outlets of a bookstore/coffeehouse chain of stores named Upstart Crow and Company, that were mostly in California and Hawaii.

 

This was the first time that we moved our bookstore and we had the help of many friends and customers. There were so many people moving our boxes of books and fixtures that I wasn't sure who some of them even were. There was such a great vibe with all this flurry of activity, that I couldn't doubt that some stranger filling a pickup with our books wasn't there to help. There was just no chance they were headed home with years of reading material. Because it was just a couple or three blocks, we moved some of card spinners full. I can still see a pickup headed down Second Street with two full card racks spinning in the breeze. It was a cool parade...and then we were open the next day.

 

Because the walls offered so much space above the shelves and overstock space, I ended up building a lot of black wooden frames to hang all the stellar book posters we had already collected. It was a good-looking bookstore and it offered us a lot of room to fill up...and we did in a few years.

 

A major growth spurt occurred in our inventory, staff, customer base, and sales when we merged with the good people of a long-time Davis book institution, Gayle's Books. When the friendly folks who owned Gayle's told us they were going to be closing down, we met with them and worked out a more humane way for them to move on and make the situation more of a win win one. Instead of them having to face the ultra-depressing road of 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 75% OFF everything-must-go sale, we worked out a merger that I think yield better results for all. Now, speaking from the vantage point of somebody that has closed down a store this way, we're very glad that we spared the women of Gayle's that awful route.

 

The sales floor was much bigger and allowed us to have the space for more fixtures, more stock, and more events. We eventually even hosted a fun and popular monthly series of live music concerts, that was organized by some well-connected musician friends. I had made a long bench that sat in the middle of the store, in front of the large sales counter, and it became a great place for good friends, or complete strangers, to plop down and start a conversation with all - about anything.  It wasn't quite a soapbox, but it did lead to some lively social intercourse.

 

The Borders Brouhaha

underwear

Another use we made of our store space, was for a series of Thursday night public meetings we hosted for discussing and planning actions about the announced Borders megastore planned for downtown Davis. These came after we found out about a creepy deal between a big Sacramento developer, U.C. Davis, and the City of Davis.

 

For a few days we had been planning what to do with our new profits from a very good Christmas season, how to expand our inventory, build more fixtures, and pay our staff more. THEN, I got a call from a Sacramento business newspaper asking my reaction to a Big Box Borders coming to town...Shit! We Davis booksellers and magazine sellers started meeting and making plans.  A meeting with the city's mayor accomplished little. We soon learned that we were chasing events and plans that had been going on secretly and quietly. Big money had a big lead on any concerned citizen that wanted to question any thing or any one. By the time major development plans become public - it's a sure sign that all the backroom plans have been finalized and things are ready to roll - right over any local opposition.

 

We "fought" for a year, got to meet a lot of different people, went to a lot of meetings, even had some great fun being "the Rabble" - as we were labeled by the developer, but I'm not sure we delayed anything at all. All our efforts were to try and raise people's awareness about how bad the city's development process  was, and the harm that a Borders would have on the local book community. The weekly meetings were sometimes fun, sometimes depressing, and many times amusing, as we discussed any option we might have. We used our store as the center stage to showcase the efforts of the Rabble.

 

For a few weeks I covered every other one of the store's with black plastic.  Black windows represented an empty store as we had announced that we would be leaving Davis if Borders was allowed by the city council. The uncovered windows showcased how great our store looked and all the special things an independent bookstore supplied the citizens.

 

I also made large pennants with gravestones on them of all the dead independent bookstores that had already closed because of big box booksellers, and I strung them in long rows from our high ceilings.

 

I then got the Borders mall plans, and built a large scale-model of the proposed development to put on display in the store. I had added some things that the developers planners left off. Things like chalk outlines of the dead in the street crosswalks, as traffic safety was a major issue and the basis for our lawsuit against the city. There was also the signing for Bored Books, Barnes & McNoble, Home Despot and many others that I've forgotten over the years. There was also a gigantic squirrel statue in tribute to the many ground squirrels that would lose their homes to the developer's heavy equipment's efforts. 

 

Our bookstore offered our speakers' podium, wrapped in heavy chains and offering all manner of literature that we were gathering and creating in our efforts to do battle with the forces of evil.

 

Because we were hosting all these meetings, showcasing all this information and street theater, Vicky and I were asked for countless interviews by all sorts of local and Sacramento newspapers, radio and television outlets, We know our way with words, but we are not and never wanted to be public speakers. We are also not bad-looking people, but we are a couple that does not seem to ever yield a good photo. I remember one particular photographer who took a ton of pictures  - and then asked for some serious ones. He used the serious ones, and we looked like Ma and Pa Kettle as axe murderers.     

 

What would be a good new name for our bookstore?
We opened what to call ourselves, up to our customers and friends. Sometimes it wasn't pretty, but it kept everyone amused.
Right before we headed off to file our Fictitious Name Statement we got a card from a good friend Herbert Bauer that read -
        "What could be apter than the Next Chapter." - and we went with it.
What follows are most of the names that were suggested.
Enjoy.

 

Another Great Idea
As You Like I
Best Trips Are in Your Head
Bibliofeel
Bibliopheel
Bicycle Books
Big & Tall Books
Big Bouncy Bravado Books
Black Ink / White Paper
Book Bazaar
Book Bizarre
A Book in Hand...
Book Station
The Bookstore For You
Bookmark
Books & Sense
Books in Style
Books on G
Books with Service
Bountiful Books
Burning Cat Books
Cafe Ol Brain
Carpe Liber
Cave Book Store
City Lites
Das Book
Davis Book Merchants
Diverse Books
Eucalyptus Books
Fat Cat Books
A Fine Line
Flat Iron Books
Flat Valley Books
Folio Books
Foolproof Books
Fred's Books
G Street Bookie
G Street Books
G Wiz Books
Gift of Tree Books
Girls, Girls, Girls
Golden Bear Books
Good Friends
Good Friends / Good Books
Great American Novel
Great Valley Books
Grub Street
Hampan Book Bazaar
Handpicked Books
In Print
John's Books
Kathy's Books
The Last Word
Literate Spirit
Mansion Books on G
Mind Spa
Mr. G's Mo' Better Books
Moonstone Books
Movable Mansion
My Favorite Bookstore
New Chapter
Next Chapter
Notable Books
Old Dog Bookshop
Old Friends
Olive Street Books
One Thought Over the Line
Paper Mind
Paper Mine
Pearls Before Wine
Printed Matter
Putah Creek Geeks
Read
Seismic Events
Shaker Heights
Somebody in Books
Specialty Books
Still Waters
Strange Green Glow
Tonitch Books
2 Blocks Up
Uptown Downtown Books
Valley Books
Valley Lights
Valley Oak Books
A Way with Words
Wiseman & the Fool
Words on a Page
Yolo Book Merchants
Yolo Bookshop
Yolo Jones
Zichilton

 

ravenGoing through old papers and found a card from Maggie of Woodland - from when we were closing down the Woodland store.

Dear Vicky & John -

"You have done what you intended to do. From the first moment I walked into Next Chapter in Davis, I saw that it was ... what ...? I don't know ... a place for esoteric books that seemed to be already on the shelf, people who loved reading and readings, a quirky sense of humor, just a damn good bookstore. You made it that way. Thank You."

 

underwear
our popular "sign of the rabble" in Davis



the dead Borders that killed the Davis book scene
Here's the entryway of the now-shuttered Davis Borders superstore that changed the book scene in Davis — and then failed itself, nation-wide.
Some of the independent bookstores that didn't remain in Davis through the dark period of Borders: The Next Chapter,
Bogey's Books, Gayle's Books, The Naturalist, Sweet Briar Books, Coffee & Classics, agAccess,
Avid Reader for Younger Readers, and The Open Bible.

 



trip back in time

 

 

 

 

  Take a trip back in time

    Mansion Book Merchants 132 E Street, Davis from March of 1987 to June 1992
    The Next Chapter
225 G Street, Davis from June 1992 to February 1998
    The Next Chapter 1059 Court Street, Woodland from February 1998 to October 2003
    The Next Chapter 622 Main Street, Woodland from November 2003 to June 2008
    Raven's Tale 352 Main Street, Placerville from June 2008 to August 2009

 


 

                                          some of the programs we put on in our bookstores

book some past events & writers

 

book Woodland Reads - we started this program to get Woodland readers on the same page - by holding events around a different book every year

 

book Poem-A-Day - every day during National Poetry Month (April) we handed out a printed copy of a favorite poem and emailed the same poem to a ever-growing Poem-A-Day mailing list

 

book we continue to mark the passing of some of the major figures of the book world - as we did with displays in our stores

 

book Banned Books Week - this was one of my favorite events - one that got more people reading books that some people wanted banned

 

book there was also: our Weird Christmas Tree Contest that brought the strange of many people, in-store reading tutoring for children, our many different book clubs, our Books from the Heart program to get more books into the local schools, the Day of the Dead shrine and community meal, and so many other programs, as well as always making our bookstore and coffeehouse available for countless community meetings.
_____

 

lore  learn about the differences between ravens and crows
fist the world of independent bookselling

 


 

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