Bel and Bunna Books Closes Permanently in Lafayette, California

Bel and Bunna Books, a beloved local independent bookstore, announced on Facebook that it was closing its doors permanently on Sunday, April 30th. The store, known for its commitment to fostering a love of reading and providing a sense of community for families and children, had been struggling financially for the last 18 months.

In a heartfelt Facebook post, the owner, Bel, detailed the reasons behind the decision to close the store. Despite multiple attempts to pivot and adapt to the challenging retail climate, the store was unable to recover from the financial setbacks. Bel explained that competing with online giants and the current retail climate had been disastrous for the business. She added that despite the passion for shopping locally, reality often conflicted with the dream.

Bel went on to mention that the store was two months behind in rent and had received a pay or quit notice from the landlords. After discussing the situation with family and friends, it was decided that even if the community raised funds through a Go Fund Me campaign, the situation could potentially recur in the future.

Although the store is closing, Bel plans to continue her involvement in the community. She will still be hosting the Monday Circle Time at the Lafayette Library and is considering expanding her presence there. In addition, she will continue the store’s three book groups at other locations, with details to be provided later.

To mark the store’s final days, Bel and Bunna Books hosted a special Independent Bookstore Day event on Saturday, April 29th, featuring final sales, story times, and prizes.

Throughout its nearly seven-year run, Bel and Bunna Books has been an integral part of the Lafayette community, working closely with schools and organizations to promote literacy and build community connections. In her farewell message, Bel expressed her gratitude for being part of the community’s lives and her hope that Bel and Bunna Books may one day find a way to re-emerge.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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