Saturday, July 21 , 2018, 5:09 pm | Fair 71º


Local News

Granada Books Writing New Chapter for Downtown Literary Scene

Counting on community, independent bookstore set to open June 20 near Granada Theatre

Too many years passed as local literary enthusiasts Emmett McDonough and Sharon Hoshida kept their eyes attentively open, anticipating the rebirth of an independent bookstore in Santa Barbara.

“We kept waiting and waiting for something to happen,” Hoshida told Noozhawk.

Eighteen months of planning later and the local retirees and co-owners are set to see their dream realized on June 20 with the opening of Granada Books at 1224 State St.

The independent bookstore, to be funded through the recently organized nonprofit Pomegranate Arts, is envisioned as eventually showcasing 25,000 mostly new (and many locally authored) titles.

When Granada Books is able to grow to its potential depends solely on how much the community wants a local place where people can buy books and host author readings or community events.

“We have to pay for this one book at a time,” said McDonough, a retired CEO. “Live or die, succeed or fail, on community involvement. People don’t want what happened to record stores to happen to bookstores.”

McDonough and Hoshida, the retired director of UCSB’s Women’s Center, are longtime friends whose children attended school together.

Both have put their money and faith into the bookstore venture, forsaking the idea that online book-buying and the more recent closings of larger Barnes & Nobles and Borders stores could ever negate the need for a small, locally run bookstore.

In an effort to psych up community members for the opening, Granada Books has been hosting weekly tours on Thursday evenings to stoke stakeholder support. Tours are planned both this week and next.

Granada Books co-owner Emmett McDonough describes a proposed patio and plaza area planned for the parking lot behind the community bookstore. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)
Granada Books co-owner Emmett McDonough describes a proposed patio and plaza area planned for the parking lot behind the community bookstore. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

The co-owners and bookstore manager Mark Zolezzi show the public through the space during tours and present store plans, which include construction of a performing arts courtyard by the end of 2014 in the rear parking lot of the space subleased from The Granada Theatre.

“This block is what used to be called the community arts district,” McDonough said. “Here we can do smaller stuff. Bookstores are magnets. It makes the block come alive.”

Empty, recycled bookshelves from the now-closed Santa Barbara Barnes & Noble line the walls of Granada Books, which already has a huge sponsor in the Santa Barbara Foundation.

The co-owners say they are confident Granada Books will be able to sustain itself, especially since bookstore management has already been inundated with requests from local self-published authors.

“People have been so generously helpful,” Hoshida said. “It’s a different kind of retail ... you aren’t competitors.”

McDonough echoed his colleague’s optimism.

“Nobody is against this,” he said. “We will grow the store. It will just take some time. It’s just a tremendous undertaking.

“I’m doing this out of love. We have to sell enough books. I think (we) will.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >