Stacey's Bookstore, a fixture in San Francisco for 85 years, announced to the staff today that the store will be closing for good in March of this year.
To any and all who worked there, or in any of the branch stores already gone, and to the thousands who shopped there over the decades, the loss will be immeasurable. Stacey's was everything an independent bookstore was meant to be; welcoming, diverse, eclectic, and fiercely, defiantly a bookstore first, last and always. It was not a toyshop, a coffee bar, or a corporate merchandising environment. It was not a publicly traded business model, or an Internet investment opportunity. It was not a retailer of products, some of which happened to be books. It was not a bland, homogenized mall operation, selling a narrow selection of safe bestsellers, in a cozily overstuffed cultural void, with every available corner crammed with cheap reprints, sidelines and logo bespattered promotions. It was not, in short, the kind of bookstore the city of San Francisco, at the behest of developers, and with the tacit support of City Hall, invited into its new cultural centers and onto every other corner of Market Street.
What Stacey's was was an Independent Bookstore; stocked, staffed and operated by Independent Booksellers whose knowledge, commitment and heart created one of the finest bookstores on the West Coast.
Mr. John W. Stacey started the company in 1923. The full history of Stacey's in San Francisco is one of constant reinvention, expansion and service. And always, from the beginning, it was about providing books to readers.
There is no way for me to express my personal sense of loss on hearing the news that Stacey's is closing. It was my home for twelve years. I learned how to sell books there. I learned what it meant to be a valued and respected member of a bookselling family there. I made many friends there, among customers and staff. Stacey's, for me, will always be my standard of what a bookstore can and ought to be.
I can not believe it will be gone by March.