By Gaige Davila
After three leap years—or 12 years—Paragraphs on Padre Boulevard bookstore shut its glass-paned doors after a retirement celebration in honor of owners Joni Montover and Griff Mangan, on February 29.
Friends came and went from 10:00 a.m. into the evening taking their last chances to purchase books and artwork placed throughout the castle-shaped store. For Montover, the experience was bittersweet.
“(I feel) a certain amount of relief, and a certain amount of sadness, and loss,” Montover said.
In a press release sent to the PRESS, Montover and Mangan said they were closing the bookstore to “go fishing, travel (together), enjoy the beach and just figure out what comes next.” The release said Paragraphs’ business continued to grow every year.
“No big plans (after closing the store), just going to shut the door and relax,” Mangan said. “After that, we got to start arranging our living space.”
Mangan and Montover will extend their private residence, which is separated from the bookstore by a patio, into the bookstore, holding on to the store’s thousands of books. The bookstore will be converted into office space, a reading room, and, possibly, space for reading groups.
“As we sort things through in six, eight months, we’ll decide what to do,” Montover said. “It’s a work in progress: one of those things we couldn’t quite wrap our head around while we were still running the store.”
Mangan said Paragraphs was entirely Montover’s idea, researching how to open a bookstore, getting the building constructed, along with their adjacent home behind the bookstore. Initially, Montover and Mangan wanted the store open only 10 years.
“It was a 10-year plan anyway, and we’ve been here 12 years, so it’s not a big surprise closing, but we enjoyed it.”
Mangan is looking forward to a trip to Big Bend National Park, road trips, relaxing, and settling in as “non-bookstore people.”
“It’s been fun,” Mangan said. “We know we’re an integral part of the county and town and we appreciate it.”
South Padre Island mayor Patrick McNulty made a surprise visit to Paragraphs to read a proclamation, declaring February 29, 2020, “Griff Mangan Day,” to the joy of the crowd.
Montover and Mangan will continue living on the island as they celebrate their retirement.