After thirty-seven years, EmÃ¶ke Bâ€™Racz, the founder of Malaprop’s Bookstore & Cafe in downtown Asheville, will step down as majority owner, effective immediately.
She hands the reigns to longtime employee Gretchen Horn, who is now majority owner of Renaissance Bookfarm, Inc., which owns Malapropâ€™s Bookstore/Cafe and Downtown Books & News. EmÃ¶ke will remain as founder and minority owner.
Malaprop’s, founded in 1982, is an independent bookstore carrying a
“carefully curated selection of books for adults, children, and young adults, as well as a large array of gift items.”
“I wanted Malapropâ€™s to be a place where poetry mattered,” says
EmÃ¶ke, “where a womanâ€™s words were as important as a manâ€™s, where excellence was customary, where good writing had a home, where I could nurture my addiction to literature, and play, enjoy, and entertain people drawn to quality books.”
By any standard, she has succeeded.
“Iâ€™ve gotten a lot of free coffee, free books, and free events for the last seventeen years,â€ Gretchen, who began working at the cafe inside Malaprop’s while she was an undergard at UNC-Asheville, jokes. â€œI love it here…I work for EmÃ¶ke. And I essentially still will be because I want to retain her vision. I will always work for Malapropâ€™s, which is a place that EmÃ¶ke created.”
In an article in The New York Times, author Anne Patchett said, “Malapropâ€™s was the heart and soul of Asheville, N.C., when Asheville was a sleepy little hippie town, and itâ€™s still its heart and soul now that the city is cool and overcrowded, a position Malapropâ€™s maintained by being unabashedly true to itself.”
That same vision and commitment to staying “true to oneself” will no doubt continue now that Gretchen is at the helm.
Malaprop’s is located at 55 Haywood St. in downtown Asheville.