Michael Howerton | The Berkeley Daily Planet
Cody’s Books at Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street in its heyday
Cody’s Books Closes After 52 Years in Berkeley
By Michael Howerton
Friday June 20, 2008
Cody‚Äôs Books, founded on Euclid Avenue in Berkeley in 1956, moved to Telegraph Avenue, expanded to Fourth Street in 1998 and San Francisco in 2005, closed on Telegraph in 2006, closed in San Francisco the following year, moved to Shattuck Avenue in March, and then, on June 19, 2008, went out of business.
Shoppers and passersby at the 2201 Shattuck store Friday found a locked store and a sign taped on the glass doors reading: ‚ÄúCody‚Äôs Books is Closed-Thank You.‚ÄĚ Above the windows a recently hung temporary banner proclaimed: ‚ÄúNow Open-Cody‚Äôs Books.‚ÄĚ
An employee greeted a few people who knocked on the locked doors Friday afternoon, informing them that Cody‚Äôs was indeed closed for good.
Melissa Mytinger, Cody‚Äôs last manager, said that staff was told of the store‚Äôs closing during an all-staff meeting Friday morning. She had no forewarning of the move, she said.
‚ÄúWe were all shocked,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúIt was a great team.‚ÄĚ
She said an official statement was expected to be issued from Japan, but as of Friday late afternoon, it was not available.
Cody‚Äôs Books, founded by Fred and Pat Cody 52 years ago, was for many years Berkeley‚Äôs most famous and most beloved book store in a town that loves books. The Codys were renowned for treating street people and protesters with kindness and generosity, especially during the time of the Free Speech Movement.
The business was sold to Andy Ross in 1977. He was responsible for the Fourth Street and San Francisco expansions and presided over closing the Telegraph store, after a business downturn that many observers thought was caused by problems with the expansion financing.
Soon after closing the Telegraph store in mid-2006, Ross sold Cody‚Äôs to Yohan, a Japanese book distributor whose owner-CEO was Hiroshi Kagawa. Yohan kept only the Fourth Street shop open. In December, Ross, who had stayed on as Cody‚Äôs president under the new owner, stepped down, and at the same time Kagawa left Yohan and took Cody‚Äôs with him to the IBC Publishing Group, the current owner.