He has decided to give the store for a token payment to store manager Jessica Walker, senior buyer Carol Mentha, comptroller Sarah Frye and operations manager Ian Cochran. Walker will be majority shareholder.
It is not a gift of a failing business. The bookstore continues to be successful. The gift includes the 30,000 book inventory, computers and furnishings. In a Toronto Star article Munro estimates the value of the gift at $1,000,000. He will retain ownership of the building and rent it to the new owners at a below market price.
It is one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores in its old bank building in downtown Victoria. No book lover can pass its doors without entry. The photos with this post from the store website show the exterior by night and the interior all the time.
I was there four years ago and was entranced. I wish I could go there every week. The store is so inviting and the staff are very knowledgeable.
told him he’s nuts.
The Star story further sets out the reasons for Munro’s decision and the reaction of his professional advisers:
told him he’s nuts.
Munro sees it differently. “Without them there, the business
isn’t worth anything.
They are like an extended family.
Munro has three daughters with ex-wife Alice Munro, who
last year won the Nobel Prize in Literature. “We all totally
agree that the store should go to the staff, that we hold the
building and that we want the Munro name to continue,” he
In a story in the Victoria Times-Colonist newspaper Walker said about the gift:
Walker said that she, Mentha, Cochran and Frye don’t take the compliment lightly. “The idea of being responsible for making sure the store continues and thrives is a real honour for us and we take it seriously. It’s something daunting, but exciting at the same time,” she said.
The store has survived the opening of a Chapters, one of the bookstores in the Canadian chain, which opened two blocks away a few years ago.
I cannot recall a comparable gifting of a bookstore. It is a remarkable action.
I love the store's unofficial motto - "tactile pleasures of the physical book".