FAREWELL Kelly Pleskunas, owner of Kelly’s Books in Watsonville gets a goodbye hug from long-time customer, Ed Frost, after she announced her shop will close permanently on Nov. 4.

After 12 years of running Watsonville’s only bookstore, Kelly Pleskunas will hang up her closed sign at Kelly’s Books for the last time Nov. 4.

“I want to send a heartfelt thank you to all the customers who have supported me these past 12 years,” she said. “I will miss you all; I have made a lot of great friends here. It’s just not possible to stay open any longer than November 4.”

At 1,800 square feet, Kelly’s Books, at 1838 Main St., is a neighbor with The Body Zone, Nob Hill Foods, CVS, Imura restaurant and other businesses in Watsonville Square.

Pleskunas said that the pandemic sent many of her customers to shop for books on Amazon.

“Amazon won,” she said.

Her store, which features new and used books for adults, a children’s section, books in Spanish and unique local gifts, stems from Crossroads Books, which opened its doors in the Crossroads Center across Main Street in 1994. Pleskunas bought the business from Jan Van Wordenberg in 2011 and had to move across Main Street to her current spot in 2016.

“It’s been awesome to have a local place that is not the internet,” said longtime customer, Daryl Nelson. “Kelly is a wonderful person and her store will be missed.” 

One woman, who chose not to use her name, came to the counter with an armload of books Tuesday. “I’m sorry to see her closing,” she said. “There are lots of cities out there with no bookstore. I can’t believe how many people live where there are no bookstores.”

Pleskunas said that everything must go now, including books, bookcases and tables.

“There are still loads of new and used books here, gift items and cards,” she said.

She recommends that book hounds visit Bookshop Santa Cruz in downtown Santa Cruz, Downtown Book and Sound in Salinas or Shop Two Birds on 41st Ave. in Capitola.

“I sure want to thank Tess Felder and Carol Bennet who were longtime employees here until the pandemic,” Pleskunas said.

Ed Frost wandered into the shop Tuesday to pick up Stephen King’s latest novel.

“I’ve been coming in here for years,” he said. Of the upcoming closure, he simply added, “I’m heartbroken.”

For information, visit watsonvillebooks.com or call 728-4139. Special orders can be made up to Oct. 11.

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Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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