The rows of books at Copperfield's Books in Santa Rosa are lit with sunlight, and seniors can easily amble into the cafe from the parking on both sides. And when store manager Thomas Graham places books of a politically conservative nature on the shelves, his liberal-leaning customers often hide them behind what they consider to be less offensive fare.
But the look and feel of the independent bookstore that has been a community institution for decades is about to change, as the store prepares to move to a new space that's half its current size.
Copperfield's Books will move in October from its prominent location on the corner of Montgomery Drive and Farmers Lane to a smaller space off Hahman Drive in Montgomery Village near the Ross store. Its departure will make room for a new building envisioned to house a restaurant.
"I met my wife here, and all three of my kids have worked here," said store manager Thomas Graham. "I'll miss it terribly."
The change reflects the challenges bookstores are facing as a result of the economic downturn and a shift on the part of readers to online or electronic devices.
A confluence of issues led to the decision to move, said Paul Jaffe, co-owner of Copperfield's Books. The store's lease ended, and the owner could earn higher rent from a new tenant than what the bookstore could afford, Jaffe said. And the building has issues like termites and leaks and needs to be torn down, Graham said.
"With the changes in the book business for the last few years, we really felt we didn't need the space we currently have," Jaffe said. "We still intend to have as many events at Montgomery Village as we've ever had, we'll make sure of that."
Its neighbor, Cold Stone Creamery, also will move to a new location within Montgomery Village. The building will be torn down to make way for a restaurant, but the redwood beams will be retained, said David Codding, owner of Montgomery Village.
The new restaurant will have two or three levels, a glass elevator and an outdoor patio, and will open in about a year, Codding said.
"We're working with several prospective tenants right now," Codding said. "What I want is to create a real anchor there, a draw on that north end."