Sundog Books Is A Seaside Original
May 26, 2016 by Manny Chavez
Back in 1986, Bob and Linda White would sometimes wonder if their idea of starting a bookstore at Seaside was such a good idea. Fast forward to 2016 and any doubters have long since become believers as Sundog Books clips right along.
The couple, surrounded by customers, employees and their latest Sundog dog “Glover,” celebrated their 30th year in business Saturday, April 30, 2016…the day fittingly coincided with Independent Bookstore Day.
On hand to celebrate the festivities were popular authors Hardy Jackson (The Rise and Decline of the Redneck Riviera), and John Dufresne (I Don’t Like Where This is Going), who signed their books for the well-attended event. The all-day festivities included assorted refreshments and the cutting of a huge cake which seemed to delight all who bellied up to the cake table. Glenn Seawell, Seaside’s longtime unofficial mayor, described the event as “another Seaside milestone” as he watched the events unfold.
Bob and Linda were all smiles as they looked back on their Seaside adventure.
“We were our only employees when we opened up next to Perspicacity’s in a small thrown-together plywood shed. Bud and Alley’s opened up the same year, but other than that, we were IT on the south side of Scenic 30A here at Seaside, “explains Bob. “We hurried to open for Memorial Day weekend and then closed after Labor Day because there just weren’t any folks around here back then.”
After four years, the Whites moved to bigger digs into what is now Amavida Coffee and Tea.
“We had started picking up on business and people were discovering Seaside and Scenic 30A in particular,” continues Bob. “We added one employee, Albert Bruns who was well-read and could ‘talk books’ with the customers. Albert was knowledgeable and loquacious,” explains Bob with a wink.
Then, in 1998, Sundog made a move “north” to the other side of Scenic 30A into what is now considered the center of town—Seaside Central Square. Sundog takes up the bottom half of the building with Central Square Records occupying the top. Longtime Sundog visitors will remember “Patty,” a black lab who pretty much stole the hearts of all who gazed into her big brown eyes.
“Patty was a fixture here at the bookstore for 15 years and she was the ‘star’ of the show,” both Bob and Linda agree. “People would arrive here at Seaside on vacation and before they even checked in would bring their kids in to say ‘hi’ to Patty. Patty LOVED Mr. Modica and he spoiled her rotten.” Often times Bob and Linda would look around while at home and realize Patty was missing…sure enough, a quick check would find her riding around in a golf cart driven by Keith, one of the Seaside security guards.
Although he has big paws to fill, Bob and Linda’s new Sundog dog “Glover”, a three-year-old blue heeler, has settled in and seems a natural to take on the “greeter” side of the Sundog responsibilities. Glover’s silhouette can be seen on various Sundog Book branding…. already he is legend!
Asked what he attributes the longevity of Sundog Books to, Bob is quick to respond, “I think it’s a combination of my brilliance, our stubbornness, and our location…in that order,” laughs Bob. The couple’s refusal to quit combined with a good sense of humor has served them well in their independent book business. They are both looking forward to Sundog’s future and they, along with the help and enthusiasm of five full-time and 10 part-time employees AND “Glover” will work towards keeping Sundog Books on the SoWal map.
Cool, commemorative hats and shirts are available for purchase at the bookstore (89 Central Square) or online at www.sundogbooks.com For more Sundog Books info, please call 850-231-5481. Bookstore hours are 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.