Store History

 

 

Boulder Book Store is Boulder's largest independent bookstore. We are a full-service general bookstore and report our bestsellers to The New York Times, The Denver Post, and The Daily Camera. Boulder Book Store has been named Best of Boulder by local papers every year since 1987. As a founding member of the Boulder Independent Business Alliance (one of the first of its kind in the country) David Bolduc, founder and owner of Boulder Book Store for 35 years, has been at the forefront of the "shop local" movement for a decade.

Boulder Book Store was founded in 1973 by owner David Bolduc. Originally located at 1133 Pearl St. (the current location of Outdoor Divas), the back 1/3 of the main floor of the building was a Mexican import store, the basement was a plant store, and the upstairs were offices. The store began with only 10 bookcases and 5 employees.

Now, the Boulder Book Store employs about 50 people and occupies 20,000 sq. feet, with more than 100,000 titles and three floors.

The building that Boulder Book Store occupies was built in 1899 and was called the Cheney Block (renamed the Buckingham Block in 1905, as the stone at the top of the building reads).

Ever notice how great the flow of the store is? When the current building was remodeled for the bookstore in 1991, David hired a feng shui consultant to design where such things as the front entrance, the safe, the business office, etc. ought to be located. During the remodeling, David made all efforts to use the most energy-efficient lighting, heating, windows, and building materials (including a tin ceiling on the main floor to replicate the historic style while saving energy).

The Upper North Room was acquired in 1994, which is why it is referred to as "the Annex."

FUN FACTS

  • David used to set up readings for Allen Ginsberg when he lived in Boulder, and about 8 people would attend the signings
  • Pearl Street and the surrounding area was built up a level after the 100-year flood of 1894, which is why you can still see the outlines of windows in the basements of many Pearl St. buildings.
  • The corner that the bookstore is located on (Pearl & 11th) used to be referred to as "Pearl & Fight" since a number of bars used to be located there, making it a spot of frequent late-night brawls.

 

Evolution of the Historic BBS Ballroom:

Our historic Ballroom hosts more than 150 author events every year.  Below, learn about its past, then stop in and join us for an event!

1899-late 1960s: The space was used by Lumbermen of the World and other groups as a place for meetings of secret societies, and as a dance hall with chairs around the raised edges, and the orchestra in the mezzanine (where the bookstore offices now are).

late 1960s-early 1970s: The ballroom was home to an Old West photography studio

1973-1976: Meeting place for the Karma Dzong Buddhist Church

1976-1991: vacant

1991: The Boulder Book Store moves in!  As part of the remodel, David hired an artist specializing in historic stained glass to match the glass in the two North windows to the original two West windows.