The Book Shops says goodbye

Allison Weseman,

Its an end of an era for The Book Shop on B St. in Hayward. No longer will the familiar greeting of Renee Rettig welcome customers into the store or the shelves of books in the back that covered subjects from young adults to Native American Studies.

After 25 years on B street, the BookShop closed its doors for good on Feb. 25.  Due to a 30 day notice given by the Red Bridge partners SF in order to renovate the building, Carl and his partners felt it was a good time to retire. The BookShop on B Street is at its third location since Ken and Virgina Mackenzie—who felt the community needed an independent bookstore—opened the original book shop on April 1960 at 22554 Main Street.

Since then it has moved to 982 B Street where in 1989 Hank Maschal, tired of his corporate lawyer job walked into the bookstore looking for a book on how to run a bookshop. Wanting to retire, Ken Mackenzie felt that Maschal was the right person to run the bookshop and convinced him to make him an offer to buy the bookstore.The original “How to Run a Bookstore” book is still kept in the store and is their bible. In 2009, Carl and his partners better known as Books on B, LLC decided to purchase the store from Hank Maschal as we wanted to retire and Hayward still needed an independent bookstore.

Long time employee Renee Rettig remembers seeing customers with their young children toddling through the store now to children bringing their own children into the store to discover the joys of books and reading.

“The book shop means that people who haven’t found that love of reading discover their path through books,” Rettig said.

Hayward has made the bookstore what it is today by providing them with the resources such as a reduced rent which has allowed the bookstore to flourish. For 56 years the bookshop has represented the diversity and political climate of Hayward.

“The book shop took a chance on me and after inquiring about a job, they called me back and offered me a job,” Brian Bosen remarked. “Seeing people coming into the bookstore, who have been customers for years, they represent the cycle of life. People who love to read; people come in and for them The Book Shop become a safe place,” Bosen continued.

As the bookstore opened its doors for the last time on Saturday, the familiar note that has been posted on the window since the bookshop announced its closure on Jan. 25. As the sign in the window pointed out “that even the evil empire can’t beat prices” so that even during these trying times, the bookshop has kept its sense of humor.