In a surprise plot twist worthy of the Dickens novels that once lined the shelves of Main Street Books, St. Helena is getting its bookstore back – and with a very familiar face behind the counter.
Napa Bookmine is opening its third store in the former location of Main Street Books, which closed Nov. 16 due to declining sales. Bookmine has hired former Main Street Books owner Liza Russ to staff the new store.
According to a news release, Main Street Bookmine opened Friday, Nov. 29, carrying “an assortment of new fiction and non-fiction books along with giftable items.”
“Napa Bookmine learned that Main Street Books was going out of business and we couldn’t stand to see St. Helena become a bookstore-less town,” Bookmine owner Naomi Chamblin said in a statement.
“It’s our hope that we’ll continue to build community around the love of books in St. Helena, with the addition of gifts to enhance the shopping experience for tourists and locals.”
Main Street Bookmine also will host author events for adults and kids, with a full events calendar being released in the coming months.
Russ has been hired as a full-time employee at the new store.
“St. Helena is lucky to have a bookstore,” Russ said. “The town came perilously close to not having one, and that would have been a tragedy.”
“I have admired Liza from afar for many years and am thrilled at the chance to work with her — I’ve always referred to her as my bookselling idol,” Chamblin said.
Napa Bookmine opened a new and used bookstore in September 2013 on Pearl Street in downtown Napa. It opened a sister store in 2014 at the Oxbow Public Market.
In July, the Pearl Street store saw a surge of additional support after Chamblin posted news of a significant rent increase the business was facing from its current landlord.
At that time, Chamblin described the struggle to meet that new rent.
“We knew we’d have to increase our business at least 20 percent to make this viable,” said Chamblin in July.
The business is biding its time before moving in the coming months from Pearl Street to a permanent home at Register Square on the 1600 block of Second Street. That site is currently under construction.