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.