Monday, July 20, 2009

DC Summer Cool and Passing

It is a beautiful DC summer; it is very cool, not the usual hot or muggy. It is very civilized on the one hand, but another DC institution of our less partisan politics past is closing. Trover Book Shop, a 50+ year institution on Capital Hill is nearing its end. We tune into the DC Examiner, already in progress:

David Aime, a retiree from Springfield, was doing research at the Library of Congress, when he stepped into Trover, purchased a chocolate bar and browsed the shelves. For him, the closing of the family-owned business marked "a blow to civilization."

"It just breaks my heart to see a small bookstore go down the tubes," he said.

According to Andy Shuman, [one of the owner of the family business] business at the store took a turn for the worse two years ago when a fire at a neighboring bar, the Capitol Lounge, caused a half-million dollars in damage to the Trover card shop, which was just three doors from the bookstore. The losses were so extensive they closed the card shop and combined its merchandise with the bookstore. Now, with the economy in a slump and online booksellers chipping away at the customer base, Shuman says the store's time is up.

"We don't want to see it go, but unfortunately with the way the industry's going and other stores closing, we'd rather be on our own terms than someone else's terms," he said. The brothers wanted to avoid bankruptcy and pay off their bills "so we can walk away with our heads held high instead of with our heads between our legs."

The full story is at:

On their web site the shop still advertises, that, under one roof, they can help with the latest directory to Congress, the hot, new bookby Senator What's His Name, that sizzling article in your favorite (or not so favorite magazine,newspapers from across the country, and guides to lobbying, fundraising or the upcoming elections.

I used to go there for interesting magazines, books and out-of-town newspapers. The knowledgeable committed people at Trover seemed like another branch of government, in the shadow of the Capital, designed to ensure public knowledge and input. We lose a family business and an independent bookstore--two threatened institutions. Is DC life better off with so much easily available online? There are pluses and minuses and no one appears to be the villain. But are we losing some of our heart and soul?

In their own words, they sum it up and say goodbye:

Dear Trover Shop Friends,

It is with great sadness that we inform you of our plans to close our Capitol Hill location, but given the current economic climate and the changes in our industry we are faced with no other viable option.

We would like to thank our parents, Joe and Anne Shuman, who worked tirelessly for decades to grow this business. They not only enjoyed watching us grow within these walls, but had the great fortune to watch many of you come through these doors as children, as young adults and finally as parents.

We, ourselves, have now worked full time for a quarter of a century. In that time we have watched your families grow as our parents did, and we hope that we have served you well.

To those of you who have been with us over the years, please know that we have truly appreciated all of your support and friendship. Capitol Hill is one of the most remarkable places in the world to both live and work, and we have been fortunate to be a part of it for over 50 years. We hope that the Trover Shop has been a source of support, fun times, fond memories and a wealth of knowledge to this community and we will miss serving you. Thank you.


Al, Steve & Andy Shuman

No comments: