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ESRA Raanana Bookshop has a New Location

bookshop-main At ESRA Raanana Bookshop’s official opening day celebration
Affixing the mezuzah

ESRA Raanana has long had a secondhand English language bookshop (the "Bookshop"). Several years ago, the Bookshop migrated to 88 Ahuza Street because of the relatively low rental cost. Although the Bookshop's book selection was good and its volunteer staff very helpful, the venture never really took off. This was in large measure because of the physical location itself being at an out-of-the-way mall at the quiet end of Ahuza, which is Raanana's main commercial thoroughfare.

The unofficial leaders of the Bookshop's volunteer staff, Trudy Stowe and Lesley Nadel, had always been of the opinion that the store could do much better business and become much more of a focal point for ESRA Raanana's membership, and indeed for the Gush Dan community, if the location was more central. It was often noted that ESRA Modiin's English language Bookshop had enjoyed an enviable reputation as a success, and it was thought that one major contributing factor was its location in a central mall in Modiin.
The fact that the Bookshop's lease was due to run out in mid-2022 presented an interesting question: Should the Bookshop's lease be renewed at its then unexciting location or should new, more central premises be found?

This was really a question of economics; a more central, attractive location would result in considerably higher rental, municipal taxes and other costs, as well as the costs of moving and setting up at the new location, as opposed to just paying a slightly higher rent at the old location and no moving costs.
A new central location was found at 124 Ahuza Street, Raanana, which is generally known as Maccabi Square and enjoys very high pedestrian traffic. It was decided that this new opportunity should be explored. Two simultaneous activities took place:
1. Negotiations for the best rent possible, together with the most favorable terms as to renewals; and
2. A very thorough set of discussions between ESRA Raanana's leadership on the one hand and the ESRA Finance and general committees on the other hand, as to whether the higher costs were worth the risk.

After a number of such meetings and deliberations, the decision was made to take the chance. The new Bookshop unofficially opened in early August, 2022 and its official opening was on September 21. 

Inside the ESRA Bookshop
Trudy Stowe shlepping nachas at official opening day
ESRA Chair Terry Morris and Lawrence Bertfield celebrating

It can now be cautiously said that the new location has been a success. Revenue for the bookshop (the "takings" for those of you who originate from the UK) have been very satisfactory and it is both hoped and anticipated that they will continue to increase.

Considerable thought has gone into the subject matter of the books. There is a heavy emphasis on all levels of children's books. There are also extensive collections of books on fiction, Jewish studies, nonfiction subjects as well as mystery/suspense. The Bookshop itself has new fixtures, and the lighting, while good, will be improved soon.
The venue is a place where one can feel comfortable and spend time browsing and buying. The staff is knowledgeable and extremely attentive. The children's book area has become very popular and continues to encourage children to read.
The books are not just for those whose mother tongue is English but for everyone and, indeed, can be used as a vehicle to improve one's English.
As matters progress, it is hoped that there will be children's and adults' book readings, as well as other social events.
There are many people whose hard work and creative thinking have contributed to the Bookshop's success; the aforementioned Trudy and Lesley captain the large volunteer staff and have worked hard to obtain enough volunteers to staff the venture, especially now that it has expanded its hours. Our social media volunteers Alana Schulman, Barbara Grant, Cindy Henzel and Rebecca Ehrenprein, among others, have worked hard to increase awareness of the Bookshop and its offerings. The advice and assistance of ESRA's CEO Sunny Marshansky and the Gan Rashal office were invaluable. Former ESRA Chair Baruch Tanaman has been a steadying influence, as was our present Chair Terry Morris. The Finance Committee kept us well grounded.
Special mention must be made of the contribution of Glenis and Lawrence Bertfield. Their very hands-on, detailed stewardship of the progress of the Bookshop from its very beginnings, cannot be overemphasized. As Chair of ESRA Raanana, I was often impressed and even amazed at their "can do" attitude.
We are looking forward to the Bookshop's continuing increase in popularity as a place to visit for both enjoyment and enrichment.

Drop by. You won't be disappointed. 

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Monday, 30 January 2023

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