For more than 30 years, locals and East Bay residents have walked through in search of stories, gift ideas and stickers off their famous “sticker wall.”
However, the store is in jeopardy of closing as the original owners, Teri and Jim Jordan of Pleasanton plan to retire by May. They searching for a buyer who, they hope, would be willing to keep the shop open as an independent bookstore.
“It’s been a great store, a great business, and the Castro Valley people have been wonderful,” said a teary-eyed Teri Jordan. “I’m really going to miss them.”
Since opening in December of 1971, they have employed solely Castro Valley locals, including their two daughters, who worked at the store during their high school years. The family would commute from Pleasanton seven days a week.
But this January, the couple mutually decided it was time to retire. They are working with property managers from Crosspoint Realty Services in finding a buyer before their lease is up in May. Management strongly supports keeping the shop a bookstore and is willing to negotiate with the future buyer on lease terms.
“I think it's something the community would like to continue to see,” said portfolio director Tracey O’Neill. “A lot in the book industry has turned toward online use and buying, but there are those customers out there who want to go out and see the book in person before buying it.”
Castro Valley resident Lynn Galan, has been coming to Jordan’s Village Books for 23 years. She said that the bookstore has been a staple of the Castro Village community for as long as she could remember.
“It adds to the whole atmosphere of the Village,” she said. “People are face-to-face here instead of behind their computer ordering books off of Amazon.”
The independent bookstore is one of the few in the East Bay and the only one in Castro Valley. In addition to offering bestsellers, the store carries books by local authors like Search by Kayla Marie Turney.
For students of all ages, Jordan's Village Books keeps study aids in stock, as well as computer books used by students from the Adult School. Teri says that if the shop doesn't carry a book a customer is looking for, they can order it and get it within three to four days.
Aside from books, customers who come to the store often rummage through the many gifts and cards that they carry. Before heading to the children’s section, kids immediately gravitate to the famous “sticker wall,” where hundreds of rolls of stickers hang.
Among the items that make the store unique are the store bags given to customers after they make a purchase. Jim Jordan signs each one himself, with scented markers. During the holidays, he decks them out in themed colors. Teri said that over the years, kids have been known to collect them.
“Everybody knows Jordan’s bags,” Teri said.
Since her junior year at Castro Valley High School, Erica Straub, 19, has been working at Jordan’s Village Books. She is now a sophomore at San Jose State University.
It was her first official job, and after working various jobs since then, she said no other place compares.
“People don’t help you like they do here,” Straub said. She had previously worked at Barnes and Noble. “It’s not about making money but building relationships with your customers.”
Despite big chain bookstores, like Borders, closing down due to the poor economy and the introduction of electronic books like the Amazon Kindle, Teri Jordan feels that the shop will stay afloat for the next owner.
“It’s still the feel and the touch of the book itself that people love,” she said. “Kindles are great for those who travel, but I don’t see it being the wave of the future.”