Larry Edmunds Bookshop Owner Launches GoFundMe to Save Store Amid Coronavirus Closing

Larry Edmunds Bookshop — Publicity — H 2020
Courtesy of Larry Edmunds Bookshop

The Hollywood Boulevard bookstore, recently featured in 'Once Upon a Time In Hollywood,' hopes to raise $100,000 to keep its doors open.

As indie bookstores in Los Angeles have shuttered retail operations following Mayor Eric Garcetti's order to close non-essential businesses, Hollywood Boulevard's Larry Edmunds Bookshop is reaching out to the public for help. 

Jeffrey Mantor, proprietor of the bookshop, on Wednesday announced that he has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help, revealing that customer orders online are "not enough to keep the store going. "We are not meeting our basic operating expenses and I'm worried we won't be able to hang on," he wrote on the fundraiser's page.

Prior to asking for donations, Mantor detailed his origins with the store founded in 1938 and debuting on Hollywood Boulevard in 1950. 

"Founded in 1938, the Larry Edmunds Bookshop moved to Hollywood Boulevard in the 1950s and learned that people all around the world seemed to have something in common, a love for the movies," Mantor wrote. "They didn't just like to watch them either, they liked to collect material about them: books and photos and scripts and posters and even camera equipment."

He continued: "I started here 29 years ago as the stock boy, working with and learning from the owners, one of which was Git Polin. She had made the first catalogue and all the subsequent ones as well. 16 years later, I became the owner of this legendary bookstore and all the history that accompanied it with legendary patrons from Henry Miller to Larry McMurtry to Michael Jackson."

Mantor goes on to highlight memorable moments from the shop, including hosting events with director William Friedkin and stars Ernest Borgnine and Shirley Jones, as well as hosting screenings of television shows such as I Dream of Jeanie, Laverne & Shirley, Gilligan's Island and The Dick Van Dyke Show alongside some of their stars. 

"It has been my life, my privilege, to be able to play a part in bringing these incredible artists together with their fans and to keep alive and expand the tradition of the Larry Edmunds Bookshop," wrote Mantor.

Just last year, Larry Edmunds Bookshop was featured in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which paid homage to 1969 storefronts. "Two years ago, the production team for a new Quentin Tarantino film about old Hollywood approached me and asked if they could rebuild the 1969 version of the Larry Edmunds Bookshop in its previous location, a few doors west. I agreed and watched with many others as an entire block of our beloved boulevard stepped back in time. Every night I would go out and see what new details the talented team had added that day," related Mantor.

"Mr. Tarantino told me he was thrilled to include us in the film because he had shopped here as a 15-year-old back in the day," he added. 

Despite being featured in the Oscar-nominated film, Mantor explained that the store is struggling and added that the grant he's applied for would take time to acquire if approved and "will only be supplemental." 

"That is why I'm reluctantly asking for your help today," he wrote. "I am not comfortable asking for charity and have resisted making this request, but I cannot sit by and watch the 82 year old bookshop that I love so much disappear through no fault of its own without making every effort to save it."

Aware that "the fate of a cinema bookstore on Hollywood Boulevard doesn't seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things," Mantor asserted that "Hollywood is a state of mind as much as it is a place." 

He continued: "Here's hoping we will stick around so that some other 15 year old cinephile can come here to find the resources to learn and study about their favorite films, actors and directors and get those 'how to' books so they can be inspired to tell their own stories and share them with the world.

"Then, that kid can follow his dream as I've followed mine. Mine is a 'once upon a time' Hollywood story about how in the third act The Larry Edmunds Bookshop was saved and continued to operate like it has since 1938, the year before Gone With the Wind & The Wizard of Oz."

Concluded Mantor: "That is my Hollywood ending — but I can't do it without you." 

As of midday Wednesday, more than $10,000 had been raised to aid the store. Mantor listed an overall goal of $100,000.