LARB’s Naked Bookseller Program is a collaboration with independent bookstores to help tell their stories and broaden their visibility across the country and around the world. A basic membership to LARB gets you a 10% discount at our participating partner stores through our Naked Bookseller card. By becoming a member, you support both the Los Angeles Review of Books AND independent booksellers. Below is the story of our newest partner in the program, Chevalier’s Books in Los Angeles, told in their own words.
This year Chevalier’s Books will be celebrating its 75th anniversary as an independent bookstore, located all these years on Larchmont Boulevard, in the heart of Los Angeles.
With its many restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream parlors, boutiques , an old-fashioned barber shop and even a yoga center, the Boulevard has become a popular spot for LA flâneur’s from nearby neighborhoods – Hancock Park, Koreatown, Hollywood, as well as visitors from all over the world.
The two new owners of the store, Bert Deixler and Darryl Holter, are longtime customers of the store who wanted their neighborhood bookstore to survive and flourish. They completely revitalized the store in November of 2014 with thousands of new books and a beautiful new design perfect for book browsing.
In the heart of a neighborhood with many families, Chevalier’s has always been known for its well-stocked children’s section. We have a cozy kids’ nook, with a kids’ sized table and colorful mini armchairs where children’s book lovers of all ages can hang out. Story time, led by the inimitable Barbara Grant, still takes place every Saturday morning, and Tuesday mornings Heidi leads a song fest for the little ones.
Customers who came with their parents to Chevalier’s sixty years ago drop by to reminisce about Mr. Chevalier, the original owner, and how they spent their childhood years reading at the bookstore, just as hundreds of kids do now.
Chevalier’s has always been a community bookstore, walking distance for everyone in the ‘hood and their dogs who stop by to get their books and biscuits from their booksellers. but now Chevalier’s is reaching out even more to its diverse community in many ways: evening and weekend readings and author signings, a monthly poetry series with open mic, panel discussions with local authors, book fairs in partnership with local schools, churches and temples and a terrific new inventory curated by the booksellers to appeal to our neighborhood readers.
We now have graphic novels, more poetry, more literary fiction and mysteries from all over the world, an excellent self help and spiritual section, and a fabulous inventory in the annex for cookbook and art book lovers. Our annex also has an LA section, with books on local architects, artists, designers and LA history.
The words and letters section has been revamped with selections for the many writers in our community. And we now have science, sci-fi, YA and humor sections.
We’ve even added to our sidelines – lots of great cards, cool journals and Moleskines, useful book lights, and even a Chevalier’s tote bag!
We’ve always been known for our customer service and that will never change. Our many regular customers stop by for recommendations and to share their knowledge with their favorite booksellers.
We do special orders, out-of-print searches, and gift-wrapping. Our assistant manager, Tommy Rudd Fleming, has started a popular book club, and its members get together once a month in the kids’ nook to discuss books, drink wine, and meet other book lovers from the neighborhood.
Longtime customers drop in to chat with Filis Winthrop, the 94-year-old previous owner who still comes to the bookstore every day to consult about her favorite books.
We even have a yearly holiday poem dedicated to our customers. When you see your name mentioned, or your pet’s name, you’ll know you’ve become a friend of Chevalier’s!
We’re proud to have served our literary community for the past 75 years and we hope to be around for 75 more!