It was the Granville Book Co. a few years ago.
Then it was Duthies.
Now it's Sophia Books.
Sophia Books goddammit!
The news spread around Twitter earlier this morning that beloved independent bookstore Sophia Books was finally closing its doors due to Vancouver's obnoxious rent rates. The Georgia Straight's now reporting that the owners are shutting down their retail business but will still pursue mail orders. However, Vancouver's losing a gem of a literary retail space, especially since it catered to a unique niche of foreign language books, import magazines, and art books.
Man, what a heartbreaker!
One of my favourite activities was to head down to Gastown and escape into their shop to just browse without any sense of purpose. Whether it was attempting to tackle Proust en français (and fail miserably), or simply peek at what Italian Vogue considered relevant, or heck - I lie. You'd often find me seeking cutesy Japanese "how to make felt animals" books or skimming through the graphic novels. And I'd often come back with a bag full of goodies. I really, honestly, thought they'd be able to stay afloat due to their unique market, but even that doesn't seem to do it anymore.
Book stores like Sophia added to downtown Vancouver's "spice" - its eccentricity. Shops like Sophia make downtown Vancouver interesting. However, every year we see more and more of these independent businesses close their door for another generic gentrified chain business to open in its place. If it sounds like I'm bitter, it's because I partially am. It's with sincere sadness to see it closing its doors. Apparently as of this very second they're having a 40% off *everything* sale.
Oh, and get this. As I'm composing this little post, news is spreading on Twitter that Yaletown-based Elfsar Comics is closing. Is this some sort of cruel theme for the week? What next? No, I don't even want to joke about it. Sheesh! But seriously, what do you think's going to open up in that space? A yoga studio, doggy boutique, or a hair salon?