Lyon Books closes its doors after a dozen years in Chico

Heather Lyon, owner of Lyon Books, stands outside of her storefront on Main Street. The bookstore, which opened in 2003, will be having its closing sale on Thursday. Photo credit: Brianne Mcevoy

The owners of Lyon Books on Main Street have announced that they will be closing their business after almost 12 years of serving the Chico community.

Owner Heather Lyon and her husband were inspired to open the store for their love of books.

At the time they opened their store, Tower Books had just closed, which meant there were no independent book stores in the community and they wanted to fill that void, Lyon said. It has been a family operation where mother, daughters and grandmother have all worked.

“The intergenerational aspect of it is that my daughters have grown up working in the store, so we would often have three generations of women in the store,” Lyon said.

The bookstore offered a place where community members interested in literature could come gather. Lyon Books is a place local writers have been able to present, publish, sell and hold book signings, Lyons said.

“I think that we’ve really turned what was already a community rich with writers into a writing community,” Lyon said. “I think now that they really feel like a family, like a team more than ever before. So those are things that I’m really proud of accomplishing.”

The owners have been happy to be able to give some members of the community their first job. They’ve cherished experienced employees as well as the opportunity to have watched what its like for people to have co-workers for the first time, Lyons said. Three of the shop’s employees are college students who have been there since high school.

“That’s something we really take pride in,” Lyon said. “You know, I really like to see the best in people and see them grow.”

The store always promoted an ethic of hospitality. Reading books can fill several roles, Lyon said, remembering a professor who ordinarily reads serious books about history who would come in and buy romance novels.

“Books can be educational, they can be entertainment, they can be comforting, they could be for the middle of the night when you have insomnia,” Lyon said. “There’s no best book in the world — there’s what’s perfect for you at the moment.”

Lyon Books has decided to close for financial reasons and Lyon does feel like that is a final ending, she said.

The store will be hosting a sale with a carnival atmosphere on Thursday at 9 a.m. and everything will be marked down. There will be contests, prizes and activities such as a treasure hunt. The balloon man from the Chico Certified Farmers Market will also be there for kids.

The passion that community members had for the local bookstore is recognized by the owners.

“That’s the hardest thing for me,” Lyon said. “I feel like I’m letting the community down a little bit. I hope that they understand that I’ve done my best as long as I could. It’s just not financially feasible to continue.”

Brianne McEvoy can be reached at [email protected] or at theorion_news on Twitter.