Capitola Book Cafe Won't Close, Will Restructure

The local literature juggernaut is staying right here in Capitola, despite massive debt that threatened to close the shop earlier this year.

There is no greater book mecca in the county this side of Santa Cruz more integral to the community than the .

So when the Capitola staple announced that the , the community stepped up to help save the business. 

Initially, the owners of the Cafe set a goal of raising $285K by the end of June, which would help pay off debts and fund the launch of a 501(c)(3) that would serve the community through literature education. 

By June 30, the goal was far from met, but according to PR Consultant Denise Vivar, the business was able to offset $100K in debt and bring in $45K in public donations, which allowed the Book Cafe to take a different direction.

Permanent closure is no longer in the immediate future, but neither is the non-profit approach, Vivar told Patch in an email. 

The Capitola Book Cafe will adopt a "B-Corp. framework," Vivar said, which "harness[es] government expertise, for-profits’ ability to generate revenue, and nonprofits’ ability to serve communities."

"This difference allows us to seek grant funding and tax-deductible donations that will diversify our income stream and monetize community outreach investments without the considerable cost in time and money of establishing and running our own non-profit entity," Vivar said.

In its new business model, the Book Cafe will continue to serve the community like it always has — as a bookseller and through book talks and educational opportunities. But with its new approach, it hopes to become sustainable and create a model for other struggling bookstores to follow.

"Are these lofty goals?" Vivan said. "Indeed, but like neighborhood bookstores across the country, we are the town square and common ground, a place for public discourse, reflection and exploration. As such, we play a vital role in the distinct social and economic fabric of our community. An investment in our future is an investment in a strong and vibrant local economy."

Do you think the Capitola Book Cafe will survive its latest incarnation? Are you happy to hear the Book Cafe is here to stay, at least for now? Tell us in the comments!

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Patti Bond August 22, 2012 at 08:33 PM
I am elated that Capitola Book Cafe is hanging in there and has a plan to become sustainable. It is my favorite place to go for books and inspiring book talks. I have been buying more books there since learning of their financial challenges, and purchased a beautiful Latin American-made shirt. Let's keep pulling together to ensure the book cafe's future.


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