The status of Marcus Books, San Francisco, Calif., "the oldest black bookstore in the nation," is still unsettled, newfillmore.com reported.
Community groups have rallied to save the store and to try to persuade Nishan and Suhaila Sweis, the couple who bought Marcus Books' building in April, to sell it for the $1.6 million they paid plus a $50,000 profit. But the Sweises want $3.2 million.
So far, some 14,000 people have signed an online petition supporting the store. On June 16, store supporters demonstrated outside the Sweises' church, the St. Nicholas Orthodox Christian Church, with signs that read: "Pray the Sweises do the right thing: Save Marcus Books."
On July 2, several dozen Marcus Books supporters went to the Sweises' neighborhood in South San Francisco "to knock on their neighbors' doors and leave flyers." In addition, bookstore supporters "have also called for a boycott and an investigation of two cab companies, Royal and Big Dog, owned by the Sweis family."
Marcus Books' current troubles began when Blanche Richardson, daughter of Marcus Books founders Julian and Raye Richardson and manager of the Marcus Books in Oakland, filed for personal bankruptcy. A co-owner of the building, she could have been bought out by her sister, Karen Johnson, and Karen's husband, Greg Johnson, who operate Marcus Books in the same building. But the Johnsons were not able to do so, and the building was sold to the Sweises at a bankruptcy auction. (The family had taken out a $950,000 loan on the building in 2006, and monthly payments rose to about $10,000 a month by 2009.) The Johnsons were supposed to vacate the building by June 19, but have not done so. The Sweises asked to have the Johnsons evicted, but the bankruptcy court judge denied the motion.
Neither the Johnsons nor Marcus Books have filed for bankruptcy.