TRUCKEE, Calif. — Despite the community rallying nearly two years ago to save the last remaining bookstore in the Truckee/North Shore region, it might end up closing.
After 23 years as owner of the Bookshelf, Debbie Lane has decided to list the business for sale, so she may retire.
“I’m ready for a change,” the 68-year-old proprietor said. “I feel like I need to do something a little different. Twenty-three years, it’s enough. ... I think somebody else could do a great job.”
According to the listing through Dickson Realty, the business at 11429 Donner Pass Road (in the Westgate Shopping Center where Wild Cherries Coffee Shop is based) is on the market for $55,000, not including the store’s inventory of books, journals and more, valued at roughly $120,000.
The worth of the inventory will fluctuate based on what’s in stock at any given time.
As far as interest in the business, listing broker Karen Norris described it as, “some, not enormous, but I am getting inquiries.”
Since it was listed in August, Norris estimates there have been eight to 10 inquiries, including “a couple” she is fielding now.
She said there is a sense those interested don’t want to see the business leave the community.
“This is a young person’s game, (with) more stamina, more social media savvy,” added Lane, considering the competition online retailers pose, coupled with the modern era of tablets, Kindles and smartphones.
In 2013, the business’s sales were down due in part to online competition and a then-recent move from its 20-year location in the Gateway Center.
Upon learning of the bookstore’s financial woes, the community contributed to a fundraising campaign and came out on a pre-selected rally day that November, purchasing nearly 900 items, helping to keep the business afloat.
Since, Lane said business has been “OK,” with strong local support.
“You can run a bookstore like this one with all the local community support, (but) to actually make that little bit extra ... you need that from the second-home owners and the people coming up who are not skiing, but are out shopping in the community,” she said.
The bookstore’s three-year lease is up Jan. 31, 2016. Should no one purchase the business by then, it will close and everything from inventory to fixtures will be sold, Lane said.
Yet, Lane is hopeful the business will stay in the community, continuing to serve as a local resource for books to children and adults.
As for the Bookshelf’s five employees — three full time and two part time, not including Lane — it would be the new owner’s decision whether to retain them.
Should the business close, the staff of five will be out of a job, Lane said, but the employees are either at or near retirement age or have other opportunities available to pursue.
As for her, Lane said she will use her newfound free time to travel with her husband and visit family.
“It’s been a wonderful 23 years,” Lane said. “I’ll miss it a lot, but it’s time. Thank you to the Truckee community for all (its) support; support the new (owner). Hopefully, there is going to be a new one.”