Tuesday, September 1, 2009

42 down, ten (+?) to go

Green Apple Books turns 42 this month. The store has evolved greatly since 1967, as has the book business, our neighborhood, the city, and so on. In fact, our evolution is one reason we're still here. Change or die, right?

When Green Apple first opened, it took up only half of what is the now the first floor at 506 Clement (the other half was a shoe repair business). That's about 900 square feet. The store only carried used books and magazines. But founder Rich Savoy soon doubled the width of the store. The photos below are from that era. Eventually, he added new books, comics, the mezzanine, the second floor, the Granny Smith room, and, in 1996, the music annex at 520 Clement. We're up to about 8,000 square feet. 28 employees. Countless good books.

About twelve years ago, Mr. Savoy recognized encroaching burnout and started trying to find successors. After a false start or two, he assembled a three-man team to buy the store from him. And as of today, the ten-year buyout is officially complete. Mr. Savoy is semi-retired at his vineyard in Boonville, where he grows pinot noir and other grapes for sale to top Anderson Valley winemakers. That's a mustachioed Rich Savoy below at the front counter in the 1970s (note the sign by the cash register: "no smoking near register"--that policy still stands!)


The new owners of Green Apple, who have been effectively running the store for about 7 years, are Kevin Ryan, who started in 1987; Kevin Hunsanger, who started in 1991; and Pete Mulvihill, the newcomer with only 16 years of service. Together, that's 56 years of Green Apple experience.

Oh, and Green Apple just signed a ten-year lease on both buildings, so as long as the readers of San Francisco (and the world) continue to support us, we'll do our damnedest to keep Green Apple the welcoming, unique, literary place it is.










Here's Kevin Ryan (far left and far right) with Pete (the cute one at left) and Kevin Hunsanger (in goatee at right). I'm sure there are better pictures, but these old ones leaped out of the historical archive drawer at me today.

Thanks to the last 42 years of customers and excellent booksellers, and here's to the next ten years of good books and good times.

16 comments:

Richmond SF said...

Happy Bday to the Green Apple! I can't imagine our neighborhood without it. Thrilled to hear the next 10 years are locked up. :) I'll post about this on my blog too. GREAT photos!

julian m said...

loved the black and white photos of the store way back when! thanks!

Alex B said...

Big congrats and hope you'll be thriving for many years to come ....

Roman said...

oh man. more photos. NOW.

S. Sparks said...

I agree with Roman. Really, really agree.

myleen said...

It's finally yours! Congrats to you all - I'm so happy for you! I definitely have some old photos to contribute to the archives...I have lots of sweet memories of my time spent at Green Apple.

Luke Lozier said...

pretty dopey pic Pete. Proud of you guys.

Rachel said...

Congrats, Green Apple! But I hope you are around for way more than 10 years!

Jess said...

Congrats Green Apple!

You're my favorite used bookstore and one of the best things about S.F. You're blogs, handmade staff reviews and wonderfully fun and unique atmosphere brings joy to many. Keep up the good work!

Cheers to many more years!

Jess @ Books Inc.

George said...

Happy Birthday.

You're doing it the right way.

Spiros said...

Hey! You guys were on the front of the Chron's Business section this morning.

Anonymous said...

Congrats!

Marie said...

I hope you're around longer than 10 years! Happy birthday and here's to MANY more years of business! Love Green Apple!

Up Mama's Wall said...

Yay! Congratulations Kevin, Kevin & Pete. I'm so happy for you. Whew! That took a long time. Now sell some books.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Pete, Kevin & Kevin! You really have my dream life out there.
xoxo, KT

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