Maria’s Bookshop in Durango is for sale.
However, Peter Schertz, the shop’s co-owner, said Thursday that book lovers shouldn’t be concerned: Maria’s isn’t going anywhere.
“There will still be a Maria’s Bookshop,” Schertz said. “We have that commitment to the community.”
Maria’s Bookshop was founded in 1972, although then it was known simply as “The Bookshop.” It’s located in an 1,800-square-foot building on the 900 block of Main Avenue in downtown Durango, able to hold about 40,000 books.
Over the years, Maria’s has remained one of the American Southwest’s most prominent independent bookstores, also known as a favorite place to stop on book tours for famed author Edward Abbey.
About 20 years ago, Schertz and his wife, Andrea Avantaggio, who worked at the store for five years or so, were given the opportunity to buy the bookshop.
“We just jumped into it,” Schertz said. “We were really fortunate.”
But Schertz said the time has come for the couple to sell the store and move on to the next adventure. He said Maria’s, like most independent bookstores across the county, has been doing well in sales. This decision is merely a personal one, he said.
“The timing just felt right for us,” Schertz said. “We’re just ready to do new things.”
Avantaggio reiterated a similar sentiment.
“It’s a bittersweet thing,” she said. “It’s been such a wonderful place, to be in Durango and a part of the community. It’s a hard thing to leave.”
Schertz said there’s no hard deadline for selling the store. Instead, they will look around for the right owner, and they hope it will be a longer transition so as not to affect the business. The couple will sell the bookstore by owner.
“We want to do it the old mom-and-pop slow way,” he said.
Avantaggio said she’s excited to see where the potential next owner takes the bookstore as it nears its 50th year in operation.
“We have always been about change in the way we run that shop, and I feel like there’s a whole other level of things that can happen there for someone with the energy and creative mind to do it,” she said.
Peter is from Texas, and Andrea is originally from Maine; the couple moved here about 30 years ago. They said they have no intention of leaving Durango.
“It’s a mix of emotion I’m realizing already, and we’re just embarking on it,” Schertz said. “There’s some sadness, but there’s a bright future for Maria’s Bookshop in Durango.”