David Karys-Schiff
Paul Wellman

Perhaps the smallest bookstore this side of the Continental Divide is looking for a new owner. For the past 25 years, David Karys-Schiff and his wife, Lisa, have run the Mesa Bookstore, a 205-square-foot hole-in-the-wall bursting with literary escape and adventure, located on the one-block-long frontage road alongside Cliff Drive where it intersects with Meigs road. Karys-Schiff said he needs to spend more time tending to the mounting health needs of his father, explaining, “He stepped up for us. It’s our turn.”

Karys-Schiff has functioned as a combination literary tour guide, maître d’, and bartender for customers whose reading tastes he absorbs with both comprehensive ease and delight. His wife, Lisa, has brought to bear the organizational discipline needed to maximize the number of books — used paperbacks mostly — that can be crammed into such a small space without making the space feel crammed. The couple run another shop in Santa Maria, where they live. That commute has led to the downfall of three cars in the past 12 years, putting 600,000 miles on their combined odometers getting between here and there.

So now the Mesa Bookstore is on the market for $39,500. There have been a couple prospects, but should those not pan out, he will sell the three years remaining on his lease to someone trying to open a hookah shop. The shop is currently home to 25,000 titles, said Karys-Schiff.

1838 Cliff Dr.; (805) 966-3725


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