The Final Chapter

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Bank of Books owners Clarey and Debby Rudd at the last Coffeehouse event on Saturday night.

On Saturday evening, Bank of Books Malibu hosted its final Coffeehouse music event, showcasing the talent of local performers, before the store closes permanently on Sunday, April 24.

The April 9 lineup of musicians included Steve Posey, Bill Bixler, Max Gail, Buddy Helm, Chris Kaul, David Lynch, Kevin McNally, Leslie Bixler and the Malibu Ukulele Orchestra.

“It’s bittersweet,” Bank of Books Manager Pam Eilerson told The Malibu Times. “We feel we’ve been an important part of the community for almost four years now.”

Bank of Books, Malibu’s last remaining bookstore, announced in early February that it would be closing its doors for good at the end of April, citing “stagnated” sales as an explanation for the permanent closure.

“Please know that this is not another standard Malibu ‘greedy landlord forcing mom and pop shop out of business’ story,” explained a letter sent to customers by Bank of Books co-owners Clarey and Debby Rudd. “From the beginning, [property owner] Zan Marquis has been extremely supportive of our store. But our sales have stagnated, and it has become apparent that it is in the best interest of both Bank of Books and Marquis Properties for this location to close.”

Bank of Books has been located at Point Dume Plaza since it first opened its doors in July 2012.

Eilerson said the store hosted a Coffeehouse event usually every six weeks to eight months, depending on the availability of the musicians involved.

“A lot of the kids will miss our weekly storytime, a lot of the musicians will miss a place to play,” Eilerson said. “We’re sad to be leaving that behind.”

Coffeehouse events have been a part of the Bank of Books schedule events for several years. 

“I started [Coffeehouse] a couple of years ago, looking for a way to play in Malibu, for adults to be able to play in Malibu,” Leslie shared. “I’m sorry about it because it’s so hard to get things going in Malibu. This has been a really special thing for us.”

“We owe a big ‘thank you’ to Bill and Leslie Bixler for our Coffeehouses,” Eilerson said. “Not only did these two accomplished musicians perform at each event, but Bill provided the sound equipment and manned the mixing board, and Leslie organized the events and booked the musicians.”

“It’s been wonderful having Bank of Books here,” Gail, one of the many performers who have returned to play at Coffeehouse events multiple times, said. “There aren’t other places like this now.”

Another regular performer, Kaul, said she is hoping that the energy that began at Bank of Books during Coffeehouse events will spread to other local venues.

“I’m hoping the seeds that were planted here will spread to other venues,” she said. “Buddy Helm, who played with us tonight, he’s our friend and my percussion mentor. He does incredible meditation drum circles and we’d love to get that going in Malibu.”

Bank of Books performers were hopeful that Leslie found a new location for Coffeehouse nights. 

Leslie shared that even though she’s “sad that [the store] is closing,” Coffeehouse will be moving to Casa Escobar.

“I think it will be able to pick back up in May, if all goes as planned,” she explained. “But it won’t have the intimacy of this little bookstore and Pam [Eilerson] has been great.”

Clarey and Debby Rudd own two other bookstores in Ventura that will remain open.

“By closing this door, the company will have other opportunities at its stores in Ventura,” Eilerson said. “They are opening up a museum to display some of their rare and unusual books.”

Before closing its doors at the end of April, Bank of Books will host two final storytimes with Mr. Steve at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 16, and Saturday, April 23.