Bay Area

Concord bookstore facing eviction, longtime customers speak out in hopes of saving it

CONCORD (KRON) -- A bookstore in Concord facing eviction was a point of discussion at Tuesday's city council meeting, sparking public comment from East Bay community members saddened over the store's possible closure. 

Half Price Books, located in Concord's Todos Santos Plaza, inspired comment from residents of all ages Tuesday night, including a 17-year-old who said she was shocked and disappointed over the news. 

"This is one of the few bookstores left in our area and it's a place for young people to come together," said Concord resident Alexandra Martinez. "There are not a lot of places for young people to go to read and become educated and I feel like that's a really important thing we need to have in our community." 

According to the Concord Communities Alliance, the bookstore is being evicted to make room for a Bank of America -- which already occupies another building across the street from Half Price Books. 

"Concord is supposed to be a place where family comes first and I feel like having this bookstore there is a very important thing to have because it does bring a lot of people together," Martinez said at Tuesday's council meeting. 

The Concord Communities Alliance said on social media the bookstore was facing eviction last fall, but was granted an extension. 

In response to the concerned residents, Concord City Councilman Edi Birsan assured residents the city is working to find a solution to the closure. 

"We are aware of it and we share the community's concern and we can assure you we're doing everything in our legal capability to find solutions," Birsan said.

He said councilmembers have received an outpour of emails from locals hoping the city can save the bookstore.

"All of us have been pounded with emails and we are very concerned," he said. "We have certain limited legal stuff and I know our staff has been working very hard on alteratives."

Concord's mayor said at Tuesday's meeting that she was first made aware the potential closure last October. 

"I think we all spend time there and it is valuable to the community," said Mayor Carlyn Obringer. "We understand that and we are working to find another home for Half Price Books to keep them here in Concord."

Another resident is concerned if the bookstore closes, it will have a domino effect on the surrounding businesses.

"It is part of the community and yes, I'm aware its part of a corporate chain, however they have been part of the community -- and they hold community events," he said. 

The Concord resident fears Half Price Books' closure will negatively impact other businesses in Todos Santos Plaza -- slowing business for neighboring restaurants and coffee shops. 

The Concord location is one of four across the Bay Area. Half-Price Books has locations in Berkeley, Dublin and Fremont and more than 120 across the U.S. 

The Concord store is located at 1935 Mt. Diablo Street. 

According to a representative from Half Price Books, the store is expected to close in early May. The store opened in Concord in 2001. 

The representative said the store's landlord has decided to not renew Half Price Books' lease, but that the store is hopeful to find another location to move to in the area, but have not found a place yet. 

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