Revolution Books to renovate, open new store within Telegraph Channing Mall

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Sierra Brown/Staff

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Revolution Books plans to move to another storefront within the Telegraph Channing Mall by Aug. 1 and is raising funds in the hopes of renovating and revamping its new location.

Revolution Books, which first opened in the Telegraph Channing Mall 27 years ago, carries titles focused on communist, socialist, atheist and revolutionary topics, according to the store’s website. According to staff coordinator Reiko Redmonde, the bookstore’s theme was inspired by the works of Bob Avakian, a political figure whom the store describes as having ideas of “re-envisioned communism.”

The people of Revolution Books had been wanting to renovate for a long time to make the store — which often hosts author readings, political gatherings, panels and guest speakers — a “better, more attractive and comfortable space,” Redmonde said.

Renovations in the bookstore’s new location at 2444 Durant Ave., which is still in the same building complex as its previous location, will include new flooring, new electrical wiring and lighting, patching and painting, and an expanded stock of books.

Redmonde set up an online crowdfunding page to help cover these costs, with a goal of raising $20,000 by July 6. As of Wednesday, the store had raised nearly $8,000, which will cover the cost of new flooring, according to the page. The store has begun work on the flooring and will begin further renovations next week if sufficient donations are obtained.

The new location also allows Revolution Books to have a more visible presence from the street instead of being tucked inside the mall, according to volunteer staff member Gina Lee. The new presence might allow students to discover the store their freshman year rather than their senior year of college, she said.

“On a basic level, the location is a lot easier to find,” said Marguerite Kaise, a new volunteer staff member and UC Davis student. “A lot more people would benefit from the material if they knew about the store.”

Over the past several years, the Telegraph Channing Mall has had a history of increasing rent costs, stimulating demands for rent relief among its tenants, which include Revolution Books, Cheese ‘n’ Stuff and Moe’s Flowers. According to Councilmember Kriss Worthington, vacancies arose in the city-owned mall in part because of these high rent costs.

But after recent rent negotiations, the city offered Revolution Books and several other stores at the mall a lower rent cost and an extension on their leases for another five years, according to Worthington. Redmonde said this was also a factor that influenced the bookstore’s decision to move.

“Not only (is Revolution Books) filling a vacancy, but they are also getting businesses to invest $20,000 to fix up the place and make it better,” Worthington said. “That will be another benefit to the city.”

Contact Shagun Khare at [email protected].