Nine-year-old Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass., was on the market for less than six months before it became the latest Boston-area bookstore to quickly find new owners directly from the community. On Sunday, August 18, customers and Cantabrigians Dina Mardell and David Sandberg completed the purchase of the bookstore.
“Dina is an educator and expert in early literacy. David has strong business experience and a background in literature. All that, combined with their obvious devotion to the store and its future, really carried the day,” said former PSB president Carol Stoltz. “We believed David and Dina would support the store far into the future, which was our primary goal.”
Mardell and Sandberg plan very few changes to start. “Right now things are going so well. We’ll learn the business and go from there,” Mardell told PW. “I’ve been here for the last several weeks, and everybody who found out said, ‘Don’t change a thing.’” For now, the couple have no plans to make their mark other than to fill the gap when founding owner Jane Dawson, whose pending retirement helped trigger the sale, retires in a few months. The other founding owners—Dale Szczeblowski, Carol Stoltz, and Jane Jacobs—will stay on along with the staff. “The staff has been great. And they’ve been very welcoming,” said Mardell.
Mardell, who has already begun working at the store full-time, will assume Dawson’s duties as personnel manager. Sandberg, who was an attorney for a tech firm before working for Google on the business side, will ease into bookselling and handle much of the behind-the-scenes work. They are planning a celebration for PSB’s new chapter sometime next month.