Librería Martinez re-opens to crowd of 400
Red and gold balloons, Chapman cheerleaders and the Rondalla Alegria mariachi band welcomed approximately 400 visitors to the Librería Martinez de Chapman University grand re-opening in Santa Ana Saturday.
Chapman Presidential Fellow and former bookstore owner Ruebén Martinez and members of the Board of Directors participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by formal remarks to establish Chapman’s new ownership of the bilingual bookstore. The university made $50,000 worth of renovations to the leased building, mainly with money from donors, after Martinez donated the inventory two years ago. The bookstore generated $3,000 in revenue during the event, said Margie McCoy, assistant to the dean of the College of Educational Studies.
“This is a great day for Chapman and for Santa Ana,” said President Jim Doti. “It’s better and bigger than I expected.”
The not-for-profit bilingual bookstore is an incentive for the College of Educational Studies to engage students in community work. It will host free classes for Santa Ana students and their parents with money generated from book sales. During the grand re-opening, the bookstore was awarded certificates of recognition by U.S. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, State Assembly member Jose Solorio and Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido for its literacy efforts in the community.
Martinez’s three bookstores in Southern California became well known for offering more than 70 percent of books in Spanish since they first opened in 1993, but went out of business during the economic downturn.
“This is a sacrifice to me, giving away my store, but I’m very comfortable because there’s so many people working together,” Martinez said. “It was just my head around here before, but now it’s full of heads.”
Martinez said he hopes students who visit the store can learn from his struggles.
“When you work, you build, you plan and you dream you can handle any obstacle. That’s the message we want to give out,” Martinez said.
At least 10 people donated more than $1,000 to the bookstore, said Don Cardinal, dean of the College of Educational Studies. Art Angles Plus owner Michelle Duman, whom Chapman employs for campus signage, installed more than $45,000 of signage and interior art in the store. She said almost all of it will be a donation.
“I love the campus and the ambiance especially that Chapman projects, so anything I can do to contribute to the success of Chapman I will,” Duman said. “People see Chapman and think deep pockets, but this is independent and needs to raise profit.”
The purpose of the bookstore is to encourage students in Santa Ana to go to college regardless of which one they choose, Cardinal said.
“There’s areas in Orange County that are like a gold mine,” Cardinal said. “We want to pull in the best and brightest people we can. Then you’ve got a whole new army of people to change the world.”
Senior political science major Tiana-Renee Silva volunteered at the grand re-opening and said the store’s mission motivates her to become involved further.
“I’m really interested in education, especially early childhood education, so literature is very important to me,” Silva said. “I’ve never been here before, but I’m really impressed with the welcoming feel.”
Chancellor Daniele Struppa said Chapman plans to make the bookstore a long-term expenditure and it will remain open as long as possible.
“We wanted people to be at home and see Chapman as a part of the community, not just a school out there,” Struppa said.
“And it’s hopping. There’s an exciting energy and all the people in this room have a common passion for education.”