7 QUESTIONS FOR
Molly Parent and Stephen Sparks
In Marin / CURRENTS
1 How did you find out the bookstore in Point Reyes Station was even available? Stephen: They
put a call out back in June. We knew Steve and Kate
a little bit through the bookstore world — I’d worked
at Green Apple Books for about nine years. We wrote
in when everyone else wrote them these “letters of
interest” in buying the store. We actually knew about
a month or so before anyone one else which gave us
extra time to write our letter, so it was an extra month
of anxiety thinking, “We’ll never be able to do this.”
2 Where does your love of books stem from? Molly: I’ve had a lifelong love of books and reading, and they’ve always been a part of me. I worked at
Green Apple for three years and I thought, “This is my
dream job and I’m going to have access to books all
the time.” Stephen: My parents fostered an early and
abiding love of reading and then I sort of stumbled into
bookselling when I was in college back east. When I
moved to San Francisco I got a job at Green Apple my
first day in the city.
3 What was the interest in wanting to take over and run a bookstore — haven’t bookstores fallen on hard times in the past decade or
so? Stephen: I think that’s the narrative that people
hear and believe but that’s not the case. The original
Green Apple on Clement Street will be 50 years old
next year, and we actually expanded two years ago. I
helped open our new store in the Inner Sunset, which
is a 3,000-square-foot store and has been very successful. The American Booksellers Organization
actually reports that bookstore openings are up
around 20 percent.
4 Did you already have a connection to Point Reyes? Molly: We have loved Point Reyes for
a long time. Just outside the city, it’s always been a
magical place that you can get to in just an afternoon.
We’ve spent a lot of time hiking and camping out at
Point Reyes. It’s had this kind of special pull for us
for a long time. And part of that is that there was
a great bookstore in town, which we’d visit every
time we passed through Point Reyes Station.
Stephen: We also always joke about how the
best part of San Francisco is how easy it is to
get outside San Francisco.
5 Where do you both come from, originally? Molly: I lived in
Massachusetts until just after
high school and then my
family moved across the
country at that point. I went
to college in San Diego and then
found my way up here after that.
Stephen: I’m from New Jersey. I don’t
even have a good reason for moving out
to the West Coast almost 10 years ago
now. But here we are. Making the commitment to buy the Point Reyes store
is also part of our journey to establish
6 What do your families think of this move? Molly: They’re very excited.
They accepted long ago that this is our passion and that’s what we were going to do.
My parents are already joking, I think, about
retiring to Point Reyes. We’ll see.
7 Where do you live now? Molly: We currently live in the city, in the Inner
Sunset. As we transition into running
the store, we’ll be looking to move to
Marin to be a little closer. The long-term
dream, of course, is to eventually be out
in West Marin, in the community. m
In 2001, Steve Costa and Kate Levinson, a couple who’d recently moved to Point Reyes Station, decided
to buy Point Reyes Books, even though they had no retail experience. Now, a decade and a half later,
move was the newlyweds’ destiny — they first met when both were working at San Francisco’s iconic
Green Apple Books on Clement Street. MARC HERSHON