The San Francisco Board of Supervisors this week passed a resolution in support of Marcus Books, the oldest Black-owned and Black-themed bookstore in the country.
The fight to save Marcus Bookstore in San Francisco has been ongoing since Greg and Karen Johnson, the owners of the store, lost the property in a bankruptcy proceeding. The Sweis Family purchased it for $1.59 million.
Westside Community Services, a non-profit organization whose clients are also served on the property, has stepped in, offering to pay the Sweis family more than the property’s purchase price. The family has refused the offer.
The supervisors’ resolution urges the owners of the building “to sell it to an owner who will uphold the building’s community serving purposes.”
According to Julian Davis, an attorney for the Johnson family, the owners so far are unwilling to negotiate the matter and do not accept that the bookstore has a historical significance that needs to be preserved.
“The Board of Supervisors is asking all community agencies and organizations to support Marcus Books,” said Davis, noting the resolution advises city agencies to “apply careful scrutiny and deliberation on any matter, especially with regard to use or alterations, affecting the building.”
In support of Marcus Books, the Sweis family’s taxi companies, Royal Cab and Big Dog City, are also being boycotted, according to Davis.