<< All Articles

Local Family Purchases The Avid Reader

By Sari Stricke | February 28, 2020

Big news is afoot for a treasured bookshop in town. The Avid Reader bookstore and its sister shop the Avid Reader Active will be under the new ownership of Davis locals Erin and Brett Arnold beginning this month. The Arnolds both attended UC Davis as undergrads, completed graduate programs in Los Angeles and Boston, then returned to Davis to raise their children Emelyne, 11, and Owen, 9. “We really love Davis and its vibrant local businesses,” says Erin. “We also feel incredibly lucky to make the transition with a well-trained and loyal staff,” most of whom have been at Avid for decades. 

Photos by Taylor Overton

People often ask Erin and Brett if they always dreamed of owning a bookstore. They answer, “We live in Davis. Who would open a bookstore when the Avid Reader exists?” But when the shop came up for sale, their friends encouraged them to look into the possibility. “It was a once in a lifetime chance. We want the community to know that this long-standing, established store is going into the hands of people who love it.” And, they add, “the things customers love about the store are going to remain. We see great value in the personal service the Avid Reader has provided the community with its large inventory of books specially curated for its loyal customers. That is something we see as a massive value.”

The Arnolds plan to expand the Avid Reader’s programming with more lectures, readings, and community book-club offerings. “When we travel, we go to libraries and bookstores,” says Erin, who points to these places as third spaces in a community: “They aren’t work spaces and they aren’t oriented around an ideology. Bookstores are where people bring their best selves into discourse. They are places to explore new ideas, find new stories or re-engage with familiar ones. We want Avid to remain a place where people feel included, where they feel seen, and safe. We want to continue having a diversity of offerings for all age groups, ethnicities and orientations, so the community feels included and welcomed.”

Erin trained as a marriage and family therapist specializing in child development and adolescence. “I’m a massive fan of young adult fiction,” she shares. “I’m excited to dig into our already fantastic children’s area at the back of the store. My kids have spent hours upstairs in the kids’ section and downstairs in the cozy picture book section. I’m amazed at all the beautiful stories released every year for young readers.”

The Arnolds also plan to continue curating well-sourced, developmental toys and unique gifts for all ages. “So much of Davis is about families,” Erin says. “We want to stock interesting and engaging toys that help children thrive. There’s also space in the toy store to adapt to the developing needs of the town.”

The Arnold family encourages community members to stop by to say hi as they get underway this spring.

Sari Stricke’s writing has appeared in the Sunday Calendar of the Los Angeles Times and in various Conde Nast publications. She is a contributor for The Dirt.