A SHOUT-OUT TO BOOKS INC. ... At a time when local bookstores are struggling for survival in the face of large chains and Internet sales, some local stores and regional chains are still doing well — and getting recognized for being there. One such is Books Inc., which moved from the Stanford Shopping Center to Town & Country Village in February 2008. Books Inc., which has 12 locations, has just been named "Small Business of the Year" by State Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto. This marks the sixth consecutive year that Simitian chose a bookstore in his district to receive the award. "Books Inc. is the kind of business that leads by example. Not only are they providing a great service to Palo Alto ... they're showing how independent bookstores can both survive and thrive," Simitian said. Independent booksellers are more than just stores, he said. "They're community gathering places. They're repositories of ideas." Michael Tucker, a co-owner of Books Inc., said: "Our business is based on the belief that independent bookstores provide something unique to local communities. We're glad that Sen. Simitian feels the same way."
But another independent bookseller, Modernbook Gallery, closed May 1 at 494 University Ave. in Palo Alto. Its owners said the move was due to success, not competition. The swanky, minimalist bookstore/art gallery reopened two weeks ago in San Francisco at 49 Geary St. "We loved Palo Alto but we had this incredible opportunity to be in a space in San Francisco with world-class art galleries," said Mark Pinsukanjana, who co-owns Modernbook with Bryan Yedinak. Modernbook opened its doors about 10 years ago in Palo Alto.
SOUL FOOD SLOWDOWN ... It's another delay for Mac's by the Tracks, slated to be Palo Alto's only soul-food restaurant. Originally scheduled to start serving comfort foods such as deep-fried catfish, macaroni and cheese and greens earlier this year, Mac's looked like it would finally open last weekend at 109 California Ave. But slow down, Mary; not so fast. A major delay of a specialized exhaust-system created a setback for the grand opening. Mac's owner, Anthony McFadden, swears his restaurant will be open this summer.