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Lido Village Books reopens at new site in Lido Marina Village

Owner Michelle Pierce stands inside Lido Village Books in Newport Beach.
Owner Michelle Pierce stands inside Lido Village Books in Newport Beach. Pierce bought the store in 2020.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Lido Village Books is officially reopening in a new location just a stone’s throw away from its old place — about a minute’s walk, in fact.

The store, previously on Via Oporto, can now be found at 3424 Via Lido in Lido Marine Village. The move came about after the lease at the Via Oporto site was up for renewal, accompanied by a rent hike. So, the store found a new home and began occupying it about two weeks ago, according to owner Michelle Pierce.

Pierce said she’d looked at other locations, but decided that the business, first established several decades ago — she believes it was in the mid-1970s — needed to stay as close as possible to its original location.

“It was ‘No, it has to stay here.’ This is a place with heart,” said Pierce, noting that the store’s longtime customers have cherished memories of the shop. “We’re here for the community and its individuals.”

The bookstore has been open since the move, though the official reopening will be celebrated this Saturday with a number of activities, including story time, an open mic night for writers and banned book trivia night, a nod to Banned Books Week, which highlights books that have been banned or challenged over the years.

Visitors browse through books at Lido Village Books in Newport Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Prior to coming into ownership of Lido Village Books, Pierce lived in Alaska, where she operated restaurants. She decided in 2019 that she wanted to try something new.

She’d always wanted to own a bookstore and, as chance would have it, family members in California caught wind of the news Lido Village Books would be going up for sale. Things fell into place. Negotiations happened in October 2019 and Pierce moved out to California in January 2020. Escrow was completed March 24, 2020.

The state shut down for the pandemic on March 19.

“We closed our doors for 2½ months. It was closed solid. I did inventory; I redid a lot of the business things on the back end, built out the inventory. But honestly, it’s the community [that kept us open],” said Pierce. “The community would knock on the door and say, ‘Hey, I really need this book’ or ‘You’re still here!’”

Pierce said she and her staff would wear masks and keep their distance when customers stopped by after she made an Instagram announcement about the store’s change in ownership. She remembered people waving and chatting through the windows, oftentimes introducing themselves, talking about their own memories of Lido Village Books and their willingness to continue to support it throughout the pandemic.

Owner Michelle Pierce sorts out books at Lido Village Books.
Owner Michelle Pierce sorts out books at Lido Village Books in Newport Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

“It was the fact that the community already had a love for the bookshop,” said Pierce. “Really, it was the community who helped keep things going.”

So much so that Pierce plans to open a sister location in Malibu next month.

Store regular Steve Churm said he’s shopped at Lido Village Books since he and his family moved to Newport Beach at about the same time Pierce took on ownership of the store. Churm said he feels the team at the store represents “the best of retail” and that they really understand books.

“That’s the ultimate retail experience,” said Churm. “That builds culture for us who live in the area. You want to stop by and say hello even if you’re not buying a book. You want to see how they’re doing. You want to see other people you know from the neighborhood.”

He said the store’s small but mighty team — about six employees total and one volunteer, in addition to Pierce — cares about his interests and love for reading nonfiction, history and current events.

Various books at Lido Village Books in Newport Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Heather Hendrickson said her mother has long been a regular customer at the store and she herself grew up in the area, shopping at Lido Village Books.

“My mother always says, ‘Every village needs a bookstore.’ She couldn’t imagine ours without one,” Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson said she loved the store, which she felt was “Michelle’s own” and reflects her personality.

"[My mother’s] so appreciative that Michelle made a huge commitment to stay in the area when it wasn’t immediately clear that was going to be possible with the relocation,” said Hendrickson. “It’s super important. We really feel we owe her a debt of gratitude.”

Churm said he felt the store really knows how to engage customers and create a destination within the community.

“Yes, it’s about books. Yes, it’s about supporting local business, which is so critical in our community, in our county, in our nation,” he said. “But it’s really about creating a destination where you can connect and build culture, and they do that very well.”

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