Patrons-turned-booksellers, couple Matthew Berger and Jennifer Marchisotto were regular patrons of Mysterious for six years after moving to San Diego.
Of the timing of their acquiring the 27-year-old bookstore specializing in science fiction, fantasy, mystery, young adult, romance, Berger said, “That’s something I always wanted to do.”
Though they didn’t expect to be in retail so soon, Berger noted, “When that opportunity arises, how can you say no?,” while describing Mysterious as our “favorite bookstore in the world.”
“I've been familiar with Mysterious Galaxy since I was a kid when I used to go with my dad to book signings,” said Berger who, along with Marchisotto and newborn child, acquired the store Jan. 3 moving it after its lease in Clairemont had expired, into its new 5,650-square-foot space at 3555 Rosecrans St., Suite 107, in Point Loma.
With the help of the store’s staff who are transitioning over, Berger and Marchisotto hope to uphold Mysterious Galaxy’s reputation as expert sellers of genre fiction, while continuing to grow the business’s relationship with the Peninsula.
“As lifelong readers and avid fans of science fiction and fantasy, we love being a part of the Mysterious Galaxy community. … we want to preserve all that makes the store special while continuing to grow its presence in the community,” said Marchisotto, who has a Ph.D. in literature.
“Independent bookstores play an important role in the community as a source of education and inspiration,” agreed Berger noting San Diego has recently demonstrated an increasing investment in literary culture, with new events like the San Diego Festival of Books and the annual Book Crawl during the weekend of Independent Bookstore Day.
“Interest in independent bookstores has only grown,” added Berger noting, “We’ve got some good authors coming through, and we’ll use the space to host them. This is one of the top stops for book signings.”
Staff recently were busy gleefully stocking shelves in the newly minted genre bookstore in time for its soft opening Jan. 25-26.
“Four to five times a week we have events and host several monthly book groups,” noted Berger adding, “We have a writing group and we’re expanding the kid’s section.”
Walking through the bookstore’s departments, a staffer points out the mystery, suspense, and crime section, before moving on to Star Wars and fantasy, and then on to the newly expanding graphic novels selection.
There are book-themed T-shirts, bags and other items for sale. Mysterious will also be partnering with local schools to develop new educational programs.
“The best part of this store is the people who work here,” said Berger. “You can come in and tell them what you like, what you read before, and they will give you the best recommendations in the world.”
Noting the bookstore’s spirit remains unchanged, Berger concluded, “We specialize in these books and have a great staff.”
Mysterious Galaxy founders Terry Gilman and Maryelizabeth Yturralde were thrilled to see their bookstore taken to the next level by Berger and Marchisotto.
"Their passion and enthusiasm coupled with their ideas for the future and their appreciation for the Mysterious Galaxy staff make them the perfect new owners for Mysterious Galaxy,” said Gilman. “We truly feel blessed that the timing for this transition has worked out so well for everyone."
Mysterious Bookstore will host its grand opening party on Saturday, Feb. 8.
Where: 3555 Rosecrans St.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays.
Info: mystgalaxy.com, 619-539-7137