Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Apr 20th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Next Chapter

ae CBCOn brink of closing, Capitola Book Café launches campaign to save store

When Capitola Book Café employees Wendy Mayer-Lochtefeld, Melinda Powers, Janet Leimeister, and Richard Lange became co-owners of the shop in 2007, the four booklovers had an inkling of the rough road ahead.

“The book business was already in decline at that point, but the decline sharpened deeply about a year after we took over, and then in 2008, the bottom fell out of the economy,” says Mayer-Lochtefeld. “So, our timing was not terrific. … [but] we were still in a good position to weather that storm until it sort of turned from a storm into a hurricane.”

Since they took over CBC, the book business has greatly evolved. The failing economy has caused people to buy fewer books, plus the development of eReaders and Amazon’s market monopolization have stiffened the competition.

While Mayer-Lochtefeld and Powers believe that booksellers can coexist with eReaders (CBC even sells eBooks on its website)—“We’re no purists, we’re not sitting in our 19th century apple cellars and saying, ‘Well gosh darn all those people with their computers.’ We use them too,” assures Mayer-Lochtefeld—they say that Amazon has made it impossible to sell on a level playing field. In Mayer-Lochtefeld’s eyes, Amazon’s mission is all about “purposefully under-pricing and selling things for below what they even paid for them to secure that level of the marketplace.” Since booksellers don’t set the prices, CBC is powerless.

And as a result, after 32 years of operation, the last five of which were spent battling those Goliaths, CBC is on the verge of closing. But its owners refuse to go down without a fight.

Together, the four have developed a plan to not only save CBC, but also ensure a sustainable future for it. The six-week fundraising campaign, entitled “Survive & Thrive,” kicks off on May 20 and runs through June 30. The goal is to raise $285,000—a sum that represents an investment of CBC’s past, present, and future financial obligations, which, if met, will allow the business to remain in operation and expand its offerings.

Besides selling books, CBC offers a slew of education and outreach programs, including author talks, book clubs, writers workshops, literacy education, adult education, and more.

“It’s a really tough model for independent booksellers … in that you’re doing all these outreach community activities and they’re not quantifiable—but they’re enormous contributions to the community,” says Mayer-Lochtefeld. “All of this unquantifiable stuff has never been a problem in the past when we were able to pay competitive prices for the products we were selling and sell them on a level playing field because we were all merchants in the same marketplace.”

In order to remove the marketplace pressure from those programs, part of the funds raised via Survive & Thrive will go towards the development of a nonprofit arm of CBC called Books Belong, dedicated to creating, managing, and implementing those programs. That way, the for-profit side of the business model will be able to focus on selling books in-store and online.

Other plans being evaluated to streamline operations, reduce costs, and increase revenue, include decreasing the size of the store from 5,400 square feet to 4,000, and restructuring the café—which, the owners claim, is draining resources from the potentially profitable bookselling side of the business—to be a “simple, yet high-quality espresso bar staffed by cross-trained CBC employees,” according to the campaign outline.

“If we didn’t believe that we had come up with a situation that we felt looked like a bookstore we could see in 10 years or 20 years, we would not be here,” Mayer-Lochtefeld says.

To get the community excited about the campaign, anyone who donates as little as $1 will be recognized in-store and on the website. Those who donate between $250 and $749 will receive a bookshelf dedication. And donors of $750 and up will receive dedication of an entire book section. Contributions can be made in-store or at capitolabookcafe.com, beginning May 20.

Though optimistic, Mayer-Lochtefeld recognizes that reaching CBC’s $285,000 goal will require the generosity of many. And should the campaign fail, she says the future of CBC is dim. Asked what will happen if they do not raise enough funds, she said, “Our plans would shift from a fundraising strategy to an exit strategy.”


The Campaign kickoff is from 3-6 p.m. Sunday, May 20, at Capitola Book Café, 1475 41st Ave. #G, Capitola. Tickets are $10. For tickets and to make a contribution, visit capitolabookcafe.com. 462-4415.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.

 

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?