Marsha Smelkinson | Special to Downtown News
If you remember when “amazon” referred to a mythically impressive female warrior, or when tablets were found mostly in medicine cabinets, you probably remember spending happy hours browsing in a small local bookstore.
Today’s retail landscape, dominated by online behemoths and malls of unchanged chain stores, still has room for an occasional independent shopkeeper, a corner bookshop, or a neighborhood merchant who knows your name.
On May 3, some 93 such gems will celebrate California Bookstore Day, including one in the charming, historic South Park neighborhood of San Diego.
The Grove on Juniper is an independent bookstore and more. Anne Mery and Susan Wells opened their business in 2003 just steps from 30th Street in a community then known more for its Craftsman bungalows than for hip commerce and happening eateries. The Grove has always featured books and stationery along with yarn goods and textiles. Today its browsing clientele will also find kitchen gadgets, travelers’ gear, home furnishings, and colorful apparel for women and children.
Still, books are at its core.
“Readers, authors, writers — these folks keep us alive and kicking,” said Mery, who is also a resident of the neighborhood and one of the founders of the South Park Business Group. “The folks who come here for knitting classes, the locals interested in Arts and Crafts architecture, the vacationers looking for something special to take home from San Diego — we carry books to recommend and captivate them.”
Of course bestsellers and children’s books also abound on The Grove’s tables and shelves.
“If something is hot, we have it here,” Mery said. “If not we’ll get it for you in a matter of hours.”
In addition to hosting special California Bookstore Day-related publications and merchandise on May 3, The Grove will also feature the work of visiting authors throughout the day, welcoming browsers and buyers from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Just outside the front doors of The Grove will be a vintage trailer/camper restored and redecorated by South Park resident Helene Cornell. Some of the author signings and merchandise features will be held in this unusual venue.
Many of the authors are local residents or have San Diego connections. Their genres range from children’s literature to travel essays to memoirs to novels.
For more information, contact Anne Mery, at The Grove, 619-284-7684
Additions and changes to the California Bookstore Day schedule will be published on The Grove’s Facebook page, facebook.com/thegrovesandiego.
California Bookstore Day schedule
The Grove, 3010 Juniper St., South Park
11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
- Free pine cone and finger-knitting crafts for kids.
- Salina Yoon, author and illustrator (“Penguin and Pinecone,” “Penguin in Love,” “Penguin on Vacation”).
- Annika M. Nelson, illustrator and collage artist (“Colors of Me”).
- Special coupons for ice cream at The Daily Scoop on Juniper & 30th.
12 – 1 p.m.
- Jolee Pink of Escondido, CA (author of “Living Coastal: Inspirations for Entertaining, Decorating and Cooking, California Style”).
- Gina DeLapa (USD adjunct professor and Wall Street etiquette consultant, author of “Stuff You Already Know and Everybody Should,” a series of life lessons for all ages).
1 – 2 p.m.
- Jennifer Coburn, award-winning San Diego journalist and author (“We’ll Always Have Paris, A Mother/Daughter Adventure”).
- Angie Brenner (author of the travel memoir, “Anatolian Days & Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses, and Saints”).
2 – 3 p.m.
- Laurel Corona (author of “The Mapmaker’s Daughter,” a story of religious tension and tolerance in medieval Iberia).
- J. Dylan Yates (debut novel recently released: “The Belief in Angels”).
3 – 4 p.m.
- Jill Badonsky, creativity coach and trainer (“The Muse is In: An Owner’ Manual to Your Creativity”).
- Kenny Weissberg, longtime Humphrey’s concerts promoter and radio DJ (writes of his career in the music business in “Off My Rocker: One Man’s Tasty, Twisted, Star-Studded Quest for Everlasting Music”).
4 – 5 p.m.
- Bonnie ZoBell (author of linked novella and story collection, “What Happened Here,” featuring stories of life in San Diego including the 1978 airline crash in North Park).
- Cornelia Feye (art historian and anthropologist, author of “Art Mystery and House of the Fox”).
5 – 6 p.m.
- Refreshments and social hour.