Partners Emmett McDonough and Sharon Hoshida have announced that Granada Books, Santa Barbara’s first new indie to open in 20 years, will have its grand opening this June and is intended to be a creative community-based literary and cultural center for readers, writers, educators, families, elders, kids, and arts aficionados in the city’s downtown theatre/arts section on State Street.

“We’ve been working on this for 18 months,” says an enthusiastic Hoshida, former director of the Women’s Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara, “and feel it’s the right time, the right place, and the right location to open this year.” Hoshida and McDonough, a retired corporate executive, were assisted by Paz and Associates in the planning of the 3,300 square foot Granada Books. “This neighborhood has become a vibrant center for the arts,” Hoshida says, “with several theatres and a large free trade public market being built right around the corner from the bookstore.” Since Borders and Barnes & Noble closed in Santa Barbara two years ago, downtown residents had to drive a few miles to reach Chaucer’s, the one remaining bookstore in town. Beginning in June they will have a choice.

When their lease was finally signed Hoshida and McDonough met with the owner of Chaucer’s, Mahri Kerley, to discuss the possibility of a second Chaucer’s under her management where Granada will be. They offered a partnership to her as well, but Kerley declined. “There’s plenty of room for everybody in this town,” says Hoshida. An active search for store staff, coordinated by Paz and Associates, is now underway. “We’ll have two top managers to create the staff and the day to day operations,” Hoshida tells PW. One of them, Mark Zolezzi, has just been hired. “Mark worked for Mitchell Kaplan at Books and Books in Florida, and has also served as the primary buyer for the Miami Book Fair. We met him at the [Paz and Associates] prospective booksellers seminar, and he’ll be our buyer and operations manager.” The general manager, yet to be hired, will serve as the team leader for Granada and also partner with Hoshida in community outreach and marketing. The store will use the Anthology integrated point of sale system.

Hoshida and McDonough, neither of whom intends to be involved with daily store operations, are members of both California regional booksellers associations. “Technically, Santa Barbara is in Southern California,” Hoshida explains, “but we’re close enough to the Bay Area to make NCIBA meaningful for us in addition to SCIBA.”

It is the goal of the partners to make Granada a local spotlight not only as a bookstore, but also for local talents. “We really want to have writers, artists, craftspeople, musicians, and dancers provide midday entertainment for downtown workers,” says Hoshida. She can be reached at