Ezra Goldstein, bookstore owner
by Katherine Kurre
Aug 23, 2011 | 17656 views | 0 0 comments | 74 74 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Community Bookstore & Café in Park slope opened 30 years ago, in 1971, and Ezra Goldstein and Stephanie Valdez are its third owners.

“The woman who originally opened it now lives upstairs,” he said. “She worked here for 30 years and the second owner worked here 10 years.”

The bookstore has always been a staple in their lives, he said.

“We were customers, friends of the owner, and residents of the community,” Goldstein said about why they decided to buy the bookstore.

Goldstein and Valdez said they are planning to clean the store up a bit.

“We’re going to fix it up a little,” Goldstein said. “We’re going to put in a new floor and awning,” Goldstein said.

Part of the character of the Community Bookstore & Café is its homey atmosphere. In addition to the comfy reading chairs and backyard seating area complete with a pond, there is a cat named Tiny, a bearded dragon, and two turtles who take up residence in the store.

There is also a kitchen area, the remnants of an old café, and a piano.

Another characteristic of the shop is its personable service. Goldstein said that they try to order what they think customers will like. Valdez added that they discuss the books with their customers and give their customers advice on literature.

Part of their personal service also includes summer reading for schools. Valdez said that they get copies of summer reading lists from neighboring schools and order all of the books on the lists so students can easily access them. They also offer discounts to students purchasing books for school.

Due to their dedicated customers, competition with bigger chain stores such as Barnes and Nobles is not really a threat to the small store.

“You can find books here that are not in Barnes and Nobles,” Goldstein said. “We have a very customized selection. We specialize in literature, a lot of very good literature.”

Goldstein said that a few years back, before they owned the store, there were four other bookstores in the neighborhood. However, when Barnes and Nobles came in, they were all driven out. The Community Bookstore was the only one to have survived.

“We’re a different kind of store, we have very loyal customers,” Valdez said.

To learn more about the Community Bookstore & Café, visit Communitybookstore.net.

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