Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade, the longtime owners of Politics & Prose, the Washington, D.C., bookstore that was PW's 1999 Bookseller of the Year, have taken on a partner, Danny Gainsburg. The three are now equal owners of the store, which was founded in 1984.
A bookseller many years ago at the highly regarded Discount Bookstore in Washington, Gainsburg founded and ran for 22 years Planet Cotton, a custom T-shirt company that specialized in book-related T-shirts. Since selling the company two years ago, he has been working at Politics & Prose.
Gainsburg emphasized that while Cohen and Meade "would like to travel more and work a little less," changes in hands-on management of the store would come only "gradually over the next couple years."
For their part, in announcing to customers the addition of Gainsburg as a partner, Cohen and Meade noted that he is "20 years younger than we are—the same age we were when we founded Politics & Prose. His coming into the business assures us of continuity. We know that you will find in Danny the same principles that have guided Politics & Prose all of these years: love of books and roots in the community."
For the moment, Gainsburg is preoccupied with the expansion of Politics & Prose. The bookstore has taken over the site of a liquor store next door, adding 2,000 square feet on two levels. (Eventually the store will have about 8,000 square feet of space devoted to book sales.) The main level is nearly complete, but the lower level has yet to be finished.
"The expansion will allow us to increase the size of the children's section, which is a big part of our business," Gainsburg said. The store will also expand its travel titles (to fill the void left by the closing of Travel Books & Language Center two years ago) as well as increase such "cramped" sections as mystery and fiction.
Gainsburg noted that he moved to Politics & Prose's neighborhood around the time of its opening and has been a regular customer. He also has known Meade, who was a customer of Planet Cotton before Politics & Prose's founding, "forever."