Thanks to a persuasive community leader, Elaine and Bill Petrocelli, founders of 40-year-old Book Passage in Corte Madera and San Francisco, Calif., are about to add a third location on the bay, an 1,800 sq. ft. store in Sausalito.
Not only did former Sausalito Chamber of Commerce president Cheryl Popp successfully make the case that the town needed an independent bookstore, but the bookstore hired her to ensure it fits the community’s needs.
In discussing the latest addition to the Book Passage family—the bookstore opened a second 1,400 sq. ft. store in the Ferry Building in San Francisco in 2003—Bill Petrocelli told PW that it’s both an opportunity and a problem.
The “problem,” Petrocelli explained, is that the holidays are almost here and the store that is currently located in the space they are leasing won’t be vacating until next week. Petrocelli would like to have his store open in time for the holidays.
The “opportunity” is a chance to build Book Passage’s customer base and take advantage of a community that draws two-and-a-half million visitors a year.
Although Book Passage has produced some events in Sausalito and has a number of Sausalito residents on its mailing list--the two stores are about a half hour drive from each other--Petrocelli isn’t worried about poaching customers from its flagship location.
“I think we’re opening up another market,” said Petrocelli. “And we’ve got 40 years of experience.” In addition, he plans to take advantage of the efficiency in numbers that a third store will bring, in terms of buying and back-end functions.
Given the new store’s location, practically on the water near the Sausalito Yacht Harbor and a block and a half from the ferry terminal, the Sausalito Book Passage will put an emphasis on boating books, along with travel and Bay Area titles. It will also stock about 30% non-book items, a ratio that has worked to enhance sales at Book Passage's other locations.
A grand opening is planned for the Sausalito store in January. Although a date hasn’t been set yet for the soft opening, it could well dovetail with the 40th anniversary celebration that Book Passage has planned for December 3.