Oldest bookstore in LA getting ready to close

Daily Breeze photo by Chuck Bennett

Williams Book Store in San Pedro opened in 1909 but in recent years has been operating on fumes. The rent and the phone bills are going unpaid, the owner can't afford to stock any more books, and the end is looking near. The store at 443 West 6th Street was all set to close, the Daily Breeze reports, when a flurry of activity last week and a meeting with the landlord bought the store another month or so, until at least San Pedro's 125th birthday celebration on Aug. 6. "The book business is just bad," owner Jerry Gusha says. "I can't pay my bills. I can't get books."

Opened in 1909 by E.T. Williams, an immigrant from Wales, Williams' has spanned several generations of San Pedro residents.

It's a store that stocks books by local writers -- frequently featured at store-sponsored book signings on First Thursdays -- and other titles that cater to the community.

Waiting on the front counter for customer special-order pickups Friday were copies of "Croatia Uncensored" and "Komiza: Land of My Forefathers."

The Gushas knew their customers well, offering personal tabs and delivery for regulars and occasionally even offering to order single books through Amazon to save money for customers without computers.

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