Porter Square Books seeking new owners

portersquarebooks2Porter Square Books may be changing owners, but not its identity.

In an interview with Scout Cambridge, owner Carol Stoltz revealed that she and two of her fellow owners plan to give Porter Square Books’ keys to someone else. The reason, she says, is that all three are thinking of retirement after eight and a half years successfully running the store.

“Or even closer to thinking,” she says. “Planning to do so in the near future. And [to change owners] was the only way we could figure out how to continue the store and for the three of us to eventually get out of the business.”

The owners thought “long and hard” about their options, she says, but eventually decided this course was the best for them and Porter Square Books.

Stoltz also said that one of the current owners — current general manager Dale Szczeblowski — will keep his job, unlike his three business partners.

Stoltz and the rest of the Porter Square Books owners have already started to search for their replacements. To do that, they hired broker Paul Siegenthaler to aid in the process. Siegenthaler has found success in affairs like this one, as he was also involved in the sale of other bookstores, like the Harvard Book Store.

In this process, the owners are looking for someone who will maintain the store’s identity. Stoltz says they are “very interested” in someone who will both keep the staff and continue the store in they way they first created it.

If possible, she would like someone that is willing to have her and Jane Jacobs — another owner — working there for one or two more years. However, Stoltz makes it clear that the most important aspect for her is that the store staff and “flavor” be kept.

“There’s a certain flavor about this store that I don’t know if we can actually put into words,” she says. “But, we would love to see it continue. People come in to see their friends and become sort of an in-store community. It’s quite special.”

As for Szczeblowski, Stotlz believes that his vision for the store’s future mirrors the departing owners’ vision.

Siegenthaler has told Stoltz and the rest of the Porter Square Books owners that the process to change owners should take about six months. If everything goes according to the plan, this is not the last we will see of Stoltz, Jacobs and, especially, Porter Square Books.