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May 1, 2007

For More Information, Contact:
Hema Sareen Mohan at (650) 688-6384


SACRAMENTO - State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) announced today his selection of Bookshop Santa Cruz as the 11th State Senate District’s Small Business of the Year. 

Bookshop Santa Cruz, located on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz, was founded by Sharon and Ron Lau in 1966.  Current owner Neal Coonerty purchased the bookstore in November 1973 and will officially hand over the reins to his daughter, Casey Coonerty Protti, later this year. 

Apart from hosting numerous literary and community events, the bookstore is known for holding an annual fictional short story contest for local writers and an annual photography contest for amateur photographers.

“Bookshop Santa Cruz is more than just a business,” Simitian said.  “It’s a community center and gathering place.  It’s a forum for the lively debate of important issues and most significantly, it’s a place that respects and reflect the views, values and interests of the community it serves.”

“Bookshop Santa Cruz is delighted to be named Senator Simitian’s 11th Senate District Small Business of the Year.  Running a family business is always a struggle as we deal with a changing industry, fierce competition, and even earthquakes.  We’ve survived because we are part of our community and we gain strength from our customers and their gift of patronage,” said Bookshop Santa Cruz owner and Santa Cruz County Supervisor Neal Coonerty.  “We are grateful that Senator Simitian has recognized our efforts, the efforts of independent bookstores and the commitment to service of our hard working staff.”

This is the third year in a row Simitian has chosen to name an independent bookseller as Small Business of the Year in his district (previous honorees were Kepler’s in Menlo Park and Bell’s Books in Palo Alto).  “As we watch the seemingly inexorable ‘malling of America,’” Simitian observed, “we ought to take a moment to appreciate the locally owned, locally operated enterprises that give a community its character.  Our independent bookstores are a valued community asset, and Bookshop Santa Cruz in particular is a real treasure.”

Simitian officially will present Neal Coonerty with the award at a luncheon sponsored by the California Small Business Association in Sacramento today.

For more information on Bookshop Santa Cruz, visit


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