Scenes from the Depot Bookstore.

As we navigate yet another anxiety-laden election on Nov. 8, it’s important to remind ourselves that we all vote with our dollars every day.

We do so by supporting businesses and nonprofits within Mill Valley as much as possible, knowing that the vast majority of Mill Valley businesses are owned and operated by your neighbors – your kids’ soccer coach, the taco shop owner who sponsors the little league team and the bakery that serves us post-game treats.

When you eat, shop or use a local service, you are investing in our local economy. Business taxes fuel our city budgets. Local business owners and managers donate generously to our schools and keep us safe. Three times more money returns to the local economy when you shop locally.

One of the most prominent examples of neighbor-owned businesses is the Depot Cafe & Bookstore, an Mill Valley icon that former Vasco owner Paula Lazzareschi and a group of longtime Mill Valley residents bought and renovated and reopened in 2021.

The Depot Cafe is thriving behind a vast menu of deliciousness from breakfast to well into the evening. 

But the Depot Bookstore in particular is the hidden gem, offering up an incredible selection of tomes. It serves as the quintessential example of a business that flourishes when all residents of this incredibly literate town we live in supports having a bookstore within the 94941, at a moment when the you-know-who behemoth tends to dominate book sales with its “I just heard about this book and then I ordered it and oh wow it arrived 30 seconds after I clicked the buy button’ mantra. 

It’s magic – a friction-less, instantaneous gratification transaction that only tech titans can pull off, right?

Surprise: the Depot Bookstore can nearly match that turnaround time. Given the bookstore’s limited square footage, the staff, led by longtime resident Katy Leese, places special orders every Sunday evening, and the books largely arrive on Tuesday for pickup. 

“Customers seem just fine with that,” Leese says, noting the improvement in recent years for special orders and nimble turnaround time.

We wouldn’t dare suggest that you Quit Prime – we’re not the shopping police and we all have to make decisions that are in our own best interests. But if the Depot Bookstore can create similar outcomes to that of the behemoths, why not #ShopMV and provide wind at the sails of the only bookstore in town?

And if you’re wondering how we feel about asking you to support a local bookstore, an award-winning, world-class public library backed by a pair of amazing nonprofit organizations, we are firmly in the all-of-the-above category. Do whatever you can!

Oh, and when you’re ready to move on from a book you just finished, Mill Valley’s got more than a dozen Little Free Libraries in town – including a brand new one right outside the Depot Bookstore on Throckmorton!

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