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Thursday, August 30, 2018

The last chapter for The Bookstore in the Grove

Monique Lassooij packing up the books.

Monique Lassooij, bookkeeper at The Bookstore in the Grove, the bookstore part of Bookstore & Kitchen, has been packing up the store the last couple of days. The Bookstore is out.

It's a sad ending to a great place. This is the third location for the bookstore, which opened 11 years ago; it started off at the corner of Virginia and Grand and ended up on Florida Avenue and Mary Street and then their last stop was Fuller Street. 

The store sold to new owners last July and it sort of went downhill from there. The menu selection was slashed by what looks like 99%, the books went down to 10% of what was there and the unfriendly owner cared nothing about the community. 

The Kitchen part is still open and hopefully will stay open, but I've been told by other tenants at Florentine Plaza that everyone's rent is being doubled or tripled, so there may be a large fallout.

Tents will go up soon for a few days to get rid of termites and that will affect business for those already not affected by poor business.

The Bookstore has such great memories for me, the first bookstore. We had meetings there from 4th of July to the Bed Race,  and the Mad Hatter; Santa visited with children there. There were book signings with authors and open mic nights. Everything happened there. I ate there almost daily. I enjoyed weekend mornings with the Breakfast Club, their healthy bowls and burgers and steel cut oatmeal were delicious. But that all came to an end last July when the new owner felt she knew what was best. Getting rid of the number one seller - the bowls and getting rid of the number two seller, the burgers was a less than smart move. They used to sell 1000 empanadas a week, that was taken off the menu! The kitchen staff was let go, the kitchen staff that was there from day one, the staff that knew what you wanted to order and how you liked it even before you ordered it!

The large lunch crowd disappeared overnight. All the regulars left. The Breakfast Club who ate there daily from day one left, too.

A friend asked me one time if those five things on the new menu were the specials of the day. "No," I said, "That is the menu!"

The new owner was quoted, in print mind you, telling the newspaper that she carried books that she and her staff liked, not what the New York Times or the public cared for. She was literally quoted as saying, in print, that if people didn't like it, they could go to Amazon. A bricks and mortar book store telling people to go to Amazon. At least we have Books & Books now and they'll order a book for you if they don't have it in the store.

Here are a bunch of stories from the past Bookstore adventures over the years. They come up randomly, not in order. Enjoy. There are a lot of fun stories.

Here is the announcement in 2007 about the new bookstore coming to the village.

The Bookstore in happier times. 

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get so sad whenever I read about a recent closure in the Grove or another building being torn down (even if it's not historical). Used to grab lunch at the bookstore all the time and loved the first location. Another staple gone. Florentine plaza is going to be torn down or renovated no?

August 30, 2018 3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too many landlords are much too greedy. I blame the decline of the Grove on Marc Sarnoff.

August 30, 2018 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's this article that's wrong with the Grove-
Another personal vendetta piece than anything constructive. What did the Author do to help the bookstore, or local businesses here in general?
Looks like the Grove has people why try and people who wait for everything to be handed to them. When it's not, we get an article about it too late to be constructive.
What about saving the Mayfair from demolition? Shouldn't we be working on that now?

August 31, 2018 9:07 AM  
Blogger Tom Falco said...

What did the author do to help businesses in the Grove? There are over 13,000 stories here promoting businesses in the Grove. Probably 1000 on the Bookstore alone. ALL FOR FREE.


The author spend money on breakfast there yesterday morning and ate at the former location almost daily.

The author also worked on every major committee in town - for free, for years - Bed Race, 4th of July, Mad Hatter, etc. etc.

Try scrolling through the archives here and you'll see what this author has done for businesses in this town.


August 31, 2018 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Hank Sanchez-Resnik said...

I'm a big fan of the Bookstore in its current location (3444 Main Highway). Of course it's very different from when it was in the much bigger space on Florida Ave. But the inside seating and the tables and umbrellas in the courtyard make this one of the most attractive places in the Grove to grab a coffee, a pastry, or breakfast or lunch. Plus, it's a true local business, and that counts for a lot. I hope the Bookstore/Kitchen will have a good long run. It deserves our support.

August 31, 2018 9:55 AM  
Anonymous John Dolson said...

Thanks Tom Falco for your efforts on the Grapevine and this post. I read this daily as it is the best source of information on what is currently going on in the Grove. I know you troll the streets and businesses daily for simple news. Your support for businesses and the neighbors has been exemplary. I simply don't understand anyone accusing you of not doing things for the grove. You gave a great answer to another one of the 'anonymous' nay-sayers. Well done. Keep up the good work. Your critics usually hide behind the anonymous table. Too bad.

August 31, 2018 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Grape has always lionized all new businesses, hyped their menus', introduced the owners and many employees with pictures without payment. It appears Brickell has been and will continue to expand South along Grand Avenue to Douglas. Big money, big MacMansions, people, people, more people. Generally speaking this is not mere happenstance. Cost per square footage for land, businesses and family homes have quadrupled. The trick for business will have to be what can be what commodities MUST be offered to compensate for this increase in square footage. For now it looks like development and not necessarily retail sales. I would guess the investors indeed have a plan. I enjoy wide open spaces and have been a beachcomber these past 5 years throughout the Florida Keys in no man's land; swamp, muck and mosquitoes and now I'm an artist. I'm surrounded, literally by MacMansions, cars, trucks, & weed blowers. Adjusting has been long and hard, but for me it is still COCONUT GROVE nestled into Biscayne Bay, a great sunset to the East, fresh air NE from off the ocean, eateries right in the middle of Miami, Key Biscayne, S. Beach and The Florida Keys to the South, lobster and some good fishing. Come on, it's a great place to be. Jobie Steppe

August 31, 2018 4:30 PM  

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