Dual businesses: Healdsburg bookstore serves as grand entrance to art gallery

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Levin and Company bookstore has been in business for 27 years and Upstairs Art Gallery opened six years later. While the original store was also on Center street, the move to the center of the block on the Healdsburg Plaza quadrupled their business.

The bookstore, which started selling used books, developed a committed following of loyal customers who asked it to order new books. Now, only the sidewalk cart holds used books and the store is filled with new publications.

Owner Aaron Rosewater has hung out in bookstores since he was an 11-year-old, first in the long-gone Toyon Books, where his mother Adele Levin worked, then in the store his mother started with business partner Jacquie Robb. He bought out Robb in 2001.

Adding an art gallery has complemented the bookstore. Walk through Levin and Company, head up the stairs and the conversion to art gallery begins on the walls and shelves of the stairwell carry some art objects and visual art.

The gallery began with artists from the Santa Rosa Art Guild who wanted to show their work. They saw the available space and created an artist-owned gallery.

Only 16 artists belong to the gallery at a time because of the available wall space. Each artist-owner pays monthly rent and a 20 percent commission to the gallery.

Current manager Carolyn Wilson has been in the position for seven years. The first manager was Phyllis Rapp, who just returned as a gallery artist. Over the years about 60 artists have been part of the gallery.

“It’s a perfect match — the gallery and books,” said Wilson.

Levin and Company and Upstairs Art Gallery are located at 306 Center St.

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