A Canadian bookstore owner is set to retire soon, which would ordinarily not make news headlines. Even with the recent news of a local citizen in the US who launched a Kickstarter campaign to purchase her town’s independent bookstore from its retiring owners, a bookstore closing due to the age and employment status of its proprietor isn’t attention grabbing.
But in the case of Munro’s Books of Victoria in British Columbia, owner Jim Munro wasn’t content with selling his business and living off the proceeds in high-style. Instead, he officially gifted the store four of his long-time employees, leaving them a business that appears to be worth about $1 million, including its current inventory.
The store itself is an iconic tourist spot in Victoria, with visitors to the city making an intentional stop to the well-known book paradise. The near-landmark was opened in 1963, then moved to its current location in a former bank in 1984. Those years were helped along by the four employees who’ve become so much like family to Munro that even the owner’s adult children agreed with his decision to simply give them the store.
With bookstore closings reaching crisis proportions, leaving many to question what the retail landscape will look like for books in the near future, there’s a measure of comfort in knowing that this bookstore will live on. Had the owner put the shop up for sale and attempted to find a buyer, there was a very real risk that the doors would have been closed in the very near future. While some may question how sound it is to give away an investment of this kind, Munro’s actions are far more an investment in furthering the book industry and his community.