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'Dog Eared Books' Celebrates Silver Anniversary In The Mission

'Dog Eared Books' Celebrates Silver Anniversary In The Mission
Photos: Jessica Park/Hoodline
By Jessica Park - Published on October 23, 2017.

On Thursday, stop by the 25th anniversary party for Dog Eared Books at its flagship at 900 Valencia St. (at 20th). All day, the independent bookstore will offer a 25 percent discount, along with beverages, food, and live entertainment from 7-10pm.

Owner and operator Kate Rosenberger owns two additional bookstores—Dog Eared Books Castro at 489 Castro Street, and Alley Cat (3036 24th St.).

She formerly owned Phoenix Books at 3597 24th Street, until she sold it in 2013 and the new owners changed the name to Folio Books.

Dog Eared Books has been at the corner of 20th and Valencia streets for 20 years; prior to that, the shop was up the street at 1173 Valencia, now home to Needles & Pen

She said the store's name came to her after she invited about eight to 10 friends to brainstorm ideas during an informal tea party.

"I like the idea of collective action and brainstorming," said Rosenberger. "I really like the idea of everybody getting creative output and eventually I steer the boat and I decide to make the final decision."

Book buyer Dan Weiss helping a customer.

Last year, after three decades and five different stores in eight locations, a Realtor asked if she wanted to relocate to a larger space.

Rosenberger said she hadn't thought about expanding, but after this request, she thought about it again. Although plans fell through the first time, the current space on Castro Street went on the market soon after, and the new location opened last June.

Over the years, Rosenberger said she and her colleagues have seen their fair share of heartwarming moments.

There have been numerous awkward first dates, especially right at the start of the internet when she saw a guy standing outside with a bouquet of flowers awkwardly asking men and women who they were.

She's also become friends with adults and kids, and has even had parents come back to thank her for operating a bookstore.

Store manager Ryan Smith and Dan Weiss, its book buyer, added that Dog Eared Books has been the backdrop for many student movies, as well as several engagement photos. Even though the business has won local hearts and minds, owner and staff agreed that times are challeng.

"We're coming out of balance," said Rosenberger. "We have four ice cream stores in a two-block area and we're down to two bookstores."

"Who am I to say what we need as a society, but we're going through unprecedented changes at an unprecedented time, and I'm delighted to be in the middle of it and book stores will fall where they fall." 

With three outposts and about 20 employees, she reiterates that she wouldn't be successful without support from Bay Area bibliophiles. 

"I am really grateful to the community, as they have supported us over the years," said Rosenberger." I'm so grateful for the neighbors, people and tourists. San Francisco is still a fabulous town and I just really appreciate the long-term support and the belief hat people have had in us."