Born and raised in Arroyo Grande, Taneesha Regez spent her childhood biking to and from the Arroyo Grande Library. She would bring her big, empty backpack with plenty of room to tote home all her book finds of the day. She never outgrew her passion for books.
- Photo Courtesy Of Taneesha Regez
- GOOD READS Monarch Books in Arroyo Grande is located at 201 E. Branch St. and open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
"Any book lover dreams of owning a bookstore, and that being your job, to be surrounded by books," Regez said. "I've loved them since I was little. About a year ago, my husband and I both started looking around and seeing if we could make it happen."
After a space serendipitously opened up earlier this year, Regez and her husband, Aaron, jumped on it. On April 30, the pair celebrated the grand opening of their new store, Monarch Books, located in the Arroyo Grande Village. Regez said Monarch Books will sell new books only, making it the only store dedicated to new books in the Five Cities area.
"We've had just a huge outpouring of support on our social media sites," Regez said. "People are following, people are sharing, people are messaging me volunteering to help get us going. We have the best community here. There's this great book community, so that's been really neat to see."
A lifelong Arroyo Grande resident, Regez said it was important to her that her bookstore be located in the historic downtown Village.
"There's something about the Village: the charm, the old buildings," Regez said. "It's like that movie with Meg Ryan [You've Got Mail] and her cute little bookstore on the corner in that perfect little neighborhood that they pan around to in New York. That's just kind of this feeling you get in the Village."
When Regez first got the keys to her new store at the beginning of March, it was empty and the walls were painted white: a blank slate for her to bring her vision to life.
"I definitely had an idea in my head, but it's a little daunting to get what's in my head into reality," Regez said.
In less than two months, Taneesha and Aaron managed to do just that.
"We chose to mix in some older pieces of furniture. The lights are softer—there was fluorescent lighting in here before," Regez said. "It's almost like someone's going to walk in and they're in a friend's living room. There's a couple of soft chairs in here, people can sit down and look through a book real quick to see that it's what they want."
Other than being the only new-books store in the Five Cities area, Monarch Books also sets itself apart with an extensive selection of children's books.
"The second half of our store is all kids' books," Regez said. "I homeschooled my kids for years, I have six kids, and I love children's books, so we really wanted to make sure we had about half of our space dedicated to that. We put in a little train table to let kids feel like they can touch and be busy while their parents shop."
A lifelong avid reader, Regez said she hand selected every book on her shelves.
"I have a little bit of everything. That will probably ebb and flow as I see what our community wants or needs," she said. "These are good reads that I can recommend right there: Any book you pick, trust me, I've looked it up, I've researched it. I can always order anything in."
The name of the shop is a nod to the iconic Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove, but also holds metaphorical meaning.
"Of course, it's a symbol of our coast," Regez said. "I think also it's a symbol of this dream. This is the second half of my life and this is what I want to do forever"—like a monarch emerging from its chrysalis.
• The San Luis Obispo County Fire Safe Council and the Cambria Fire Safe Council Group are working together to get residents informed about fire season. Wildfire Preparedness Week is from May 1 to 7, and local residents are encouraged to attend the Community Fire Safety Event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 7 at the Cambria Veterans Hall, located at 1000 Main St. "The family-friendly event will be interactive and informative to teach residents how to prepare, featuring speakers, prizes, and fun," according to event organizers. Δ
Reach Staff Writer Malea Martin at [email protected].