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SHAVA bringing back the bookstore

The Sturgeon Hospital Auxiliary Volunteer Association (SHAVA) has plans to open a new bookstore in St. Albert Centre this September, seven years after the beloved Grandin Mall location closed down.
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Seven years after their Grandin Mall location closed, the Sturgeon Hospital Auxiliary Volunteer Association has signed a lease to open a new bookstore in St. Albert Centre this September. JACK FARRELL/St. Albert Gazette

With a lease signed and the keys in hand, the Sturgeon Hospital Auxiliary Volunteer Association (SHAVA) is ramping up plans to open a new bookstore in St. Albert Centre this September. 

The association's new bookshop will open seven years after the group had to close their beloved store in Grandin Mall.

“It’s going to be a fantastic location," said Jocelyne Durocher, the volunteer association's current president. "We’re just so excited about being there and getting it going.”

"From the time I joined the group [in 2019], I don’t think there was a week that went by that I didn’t hear a story from someone within SHAVA who was talking to someone and was asked, ‘Are you ever going to open a bookstore again?'."

For the past 53 years, the association has been raising money for the Sturgeon Community Hospital. The fundraising efforts include the operation of the hospital's gift shop, and to date, the group has raised $3,449,658 for the hospital. 

“In the last 12 years of the existence of the old bookstore, the bookstore contributed over $1-million," Durocher said. "That is selling books [for around] $3.00 a book.”

Similarly to the association's previous location, the new bookstore will be entirely run and staffed by volunteers, and will be selling books donated to the store. 

'Chomping at the bit'

Durocher, whose mother was one of the founding members of SHAVA in 1969, said the new store is the result of almost a year's worth of planning and feasibility considerations by the association's board members and volunteers.

"When we talked about whether this was feasible, one of the big questions was 'Will we have the volunteers?' because it takes lots," she said. 

"With the old store, we were open three days a week. [Now] we have to be open six days a week,” Durocher said, referencing St. Albert Centre's requirements of all stores to be open during mall hours. The mall is, however, allowing SHAVA to close the store on Sundays because coordinating volunteers for that day is a challenge each week, Durocher said.

Despite the new store needing to be open twice as long the previous location, Durocher said the volunteer association decided to go forward with the bookstore because she couldn't imagine the group not having volunteers for it. She said many volunteers who spent hours upon hours at the previous location are "chomping at the bit" to be involved in the new store.

"We have had nine or ten of them already who want to come back," Durocher said.

“I’m just tickled that it’s come together the way it has. It’s going to be a real legacy for the SHAVA group to have it open again."

SHAVA is not able to accept book donations quite yet, but the group is currently having meetings to develop some infrastructure that will allow donations to be accepted prior to the bookstore opening, Durocher said. 

More information about when and where donations will be accepted will be announced shortly. 

Jack Farrell

About the Author: Jack Farrell

Jack Farrell joined the St. Albert Gazette in May, 2022.
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