Grafton Books closes its doors

Popular book seller can’t hang onto Oak Bay business

Clive and Christine Tanner begin the packing process in the former Grafton Bookshop on Oak Bay Avenue.

Too few customers has spelled the death knell for another Oak Bay business.

Clive and Christine Tanner have owned Grafton Bookshop for just four months, but closed the Oak Bay Avenue shop at the end of April.

On Sunday, April 29, the couple, with son Peter and grandson Malcolm, were carrying shelves from the basement to a moving van.

Jill Grafton had been the couple’s partner in Beacon Books in Sidney but decided to venture out on her own, opening Grafton Books in 1999. She sold the shop in 2004 to Kathie Walters of Abe Books who sold it to the Tanners and their son, Marc, in 2008. His parents purchased it from him in January.

“We can run many stores but the business just doesn’t seem to be here, unfortunately,” Clive said. “In our view this is the best-looking bookstore in the Victoria area, a lovely store, but we just can’t afford to keep carrying it.”

Christine pointed out that Sidney is a destination for book lovers, especially in the summer with boaters, but Oak Bay Avenue does not seem to be.

The shop made money in 2008, broke even the following year but has been going downhill since, with the advent of e-readers.

“It didn’t matter what we did: sales, better books. It’s just not here in Oak Bay,” she said.

The Tanners lived in Oak Bay in the early 1980s but established Sidney’s reputation as a booktown in the early 1990s, modeling it on the first booktown, Hay-on-Wye, in England. With the Tanners’ encouragement Sidney now boasts close to a dozen book stores.

They once owned five shops, but are now down to three. They may open another with what’s left from Grafton.

“Never say never,” Christine said. “The used and antiquarian book business is so interesting and that’s why we’ve been with it all of these years.”

Just Posted

UVic student killed in bus crash remembered as passionate, kind

Emma Machado, 18, killed in bus crash near Bamfield on Friday

Oak Bay approves subdivision for lot that houses Maclure-designed heritage home

Mansion-style Blair Gowie house famous for its design and historical connection with Butchart family

MLA Andrew Weaver thins workload after illness, full recovery expected

BC Green Party leader felt symptoms at a public event in Langley, and was taken to hospital

Golfer aims for hole-in-one to raise cash for Victoria Hospice

Fundraiser event hits Highland Pacific Golf Course Sept. 17

VIDEO: Flames pick up 4-3 exhibition win over Canucks in Victoria

Vancouver split squad manages 3-2 OT triumph in Calgary

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

Two Nanaimo residents share $5-million Lotto 6/49 prize

Jesse Logan and Teresa Winters Day matched all six numbers in Aug. 21 Lotto 6/49 draw

Island campground on the chopping block as ALC deadline looms

Owners fighting to continue facility’s operation, with a huge outpouring of support

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

Most Read