Thursday, July 28, 2016

This week on the Rare Book Cafe: Books and cigars in Ybor City, Florida

Saturday- the 30th of July- the Rare Book cafe team will have a chat with Gigi Best-Richardson, owner of Best Books, Rich Treasures in Ybor City, Florida.

Doing business nearly twenty years, BBRT has a fascinating, roving past:

"Best Books Rich Treasures is an Independent, Veteran and Woman-owned family bookstore providing exceptional used, rare and new books, high quality gift items, and reliable service to our customers...We first opened Best Books & Rich Treasures in 1997 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  Though we began as traveling vendors, we quickly opened a two-story storefront bookstore there. 

"We then moved to the Virginia Beach Farmers Market and Antique Mall and since that time we have taken our store to four other cities and two different countries (Korea and Turkey) before re-opening in Tampa, FL.  

"For many years we have brought our business to military and civilian communities as a military family ourselves.  We are currently close to MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, FL and are excited to, not only, serve the local military and civilian community, but also have our business on the web, where we are accessible to the world."

Ybor City flourished as the cigar capital of the world for half a century from the 1880s. A multicultural immigrant army settled in villages built around the cigar factories to make a community of storied vitality and diversity.

Production peaked at 500 million cigars in 1929; the arrival of the Depression that fall led to Americans' switching to cheaper cigarettes and mechanization of the cigar-making process over the next two decades, driving wages down and workers into other occupations.

After nearly being wiped out by depopulation and neglect, Ybor City revived in the 1990s and is now a celebrated jewel in the cultural and artistic life of greater Tampa, filled with entrainment venues, galleries, and artists: the perfect place for a bookstore!

Visiting the Tampa area? Here's BBRT's contact information:

1501-B Ninth Avenue, Tampa FL 33065
(Located in historic Ybor City)

Days/Hours: Tu/We/Th/Sa, 10 am- 5 pm
Fri, noon- 8 pm
Su/Mo closed

Rare Books Cafe is a weekly Internet production sponsored by the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. It's live at every Saturday from 2.30 to 3.30 pm EDT/6.30 to 7.30 GMT.

The program encourages viewer participation via its interactive features and video: if you've got an interesting book, join the panel and show it to us!

Regular co-hosts include Thorne Donnelly, owner of Liberty Book Store in West Palm Beach; Steven Eisenstein, longtime Miami-area dealer and appraiser and host of the weekly radio program Buck$ on the Bookshelf at; T.Allen Smith, retired journalist, bookseller, and photographer for the Florida book fair; and Lindsay Thompson, owner of Henry Bemis Books in Charlotte, North Carolina.

To access the show, look up on your browser. Sign in using your Twitter or Facebook account, and type "Rare Book Cafe" in the search box.

Past programs are archived at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair site, as well as on Rare Book Cafe's YouTube Channel.

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