- Associated Press - Saturday, December 19, 2015

NAMPA, Idaho (AP) - Nampa’s Yesteryear Shoppe bookstore has become a fixture in the town. Owned by Dave Gonzales and his son Stephan Gonzales, the store has bought and sold books in the city for over 40 years.

The Yesteryear Shoppe boasts a collection of over 300,000 books costing anywhere from $0.50 to $4,000.

“That’s an ancient book on predatory birds from the 17th century,” Dave Gonzales said about a large and expensive book sitting in a glass case.

The 300,000 doesn’t account for the collection of comic books, vinyl records and antique magazines lining the shelves in the large store.

“I’m a collector,” Dave Gonzales said. “People collect things they have an interest in, and I have a large interest in books.”

Dave Gonzales has always had a passion for reading. He grew up in Nampa and graduated from Nampa High School in 1958. He was one of the first students to graduate from the high school’s current location. Dave Gonzales worked as a plumber for a local company until 1973, when truck drivers stopped delivering goods in a strike against President Nixon’s oil rationing.

“Because it was hard to get equipment and goods, I would only work every other day, it seemed,” Dave Gonzales said. “I wasn’t making a lot of money. So I thought, ‘I could own a bookstore or something for this same uncertainty.’”

From there, Dave Gonzales opened the doors to Yesteryear Shoppe and began his extensive collection of unique books and entertainment.

The store started on First Street South in downtown Nampa where the Rustic Chair is located today. When Dave Gonzales’ collection kept growing, he moved to his current location at 1211 First Street South in Nampa. His large store took over two of downtown’s original storefronts and includes a basement area for shoppers.

Dave Gonzales raised his two sons and two daughters in the book shop with his wife Ursula Gonzales. His son Stephan Gonzales, who graduated from Nampa High School in 1981, decided to help his father run the store. Dave Gonzales now has four grandchildren who enjoy exploring the bookstore when they visit.

“Being here means a constant education,” Stephan Gonzales said.

One of the customers wandering the shop commented that Stephan Gonzales probably knows more than any local librarian because he spends so much time reading, buying and selling books with his father.

“I don’t have the college degree or the paperwork, but I know a lot about books,” Stephan Gonzales said.

Yesteryear Shoppe has been a large part of Dave Gonzales’ family’s life, but he said it’s also been a large part of other Nampa families’ lives. He has enjoyed watching generations come in and out of his shop looking for books.

“Back in the day, you’d have NNU - which back then was Northwest Nazarene College - students come in and look for books,” Dave Gonzales said. “Then they’d get married and maybe move out of state. But they’d always come back here if they visited. Then their children come in the store with them. Then their children get married up and come in with their children. It’s real fun to see.”

Stephan Gonzales said Yesteryear Shoppe is unique compared to large, franchise-owned book stores because it has a greater variety of merchandise. The shop is a place to find out-of-print, antique, strange and well-loved literature. Customers also enjoy looking through the large collection of rare vinyl records, old comic books and dated magazines with past icons on the covers.

Dave Gonzales said the popularity of books has not dwindled, even among the younger crowd, while the digital era has boomed.

“I don’t personally like e-books,” he said. “I can understand why people like them. It must be nice having a whole library in one computer to travel with. But you can’t lend your Kindle to your friend. That’s the best part about books, sharing. That’s how you interpret the story. You share it with your friend and discuss it.”

Dave Gonzales said he doesn’t have one favorite author, but rather a large love of many writers and genres. He said books, like music, can feel different to a reader depending on their mood.

“You can go on great adventures with a book,” he said. “Some people like to travel, so you can pick up a book and travel anywhere. I know guys who like big game hunting but have never gone. They pick up a book on big game hunting and it’s like they are there.”

After 40 years in downtown Nampa, Dave Gonzales said the biggest changes to the area have been how people spend their money and how more customers are interested in the downtown area. He said keeping younger generations in the store hasn’t been a difficult task. He said a lot of teenagers enjoy a physical book and the old vinyl records.

“They come in with their parents looking for a Frank Sinatra record,” Dave Gonzales said.

Dave and Stephan Gonzales said there are no plans for retirement in the near future. Dave Gonzales said he doesn’t have the strength anymore to lift all the merchandise, but he truly enjoys being in the shop every day.

Stephan Gonzales said if the book store stays in the family and keeps selling unique items, there may be another 40 years of the Yesteryear Shoppe.

“I like Nampa,” Dave Gonzales said. “I grew up here and I didn’t want to leave. I enjoy coming in and reading and being around the books. It’s not for sure what the future holds or how book sales will be in 10 years, but we have confidence in us.”

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Information from: Idaho Press-Tribune, https://www.idahopress.com

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