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Our Story So Far

Our shop claims the title of oldest independent bookstore in Los Angeles. We've been serving the local neighborhood since 1940, when our original owner, Joseph Chevalier, started the business as a lending library.

Known today for its community spirit, expansive children’s section, and welcoming atmosphere, the 84-year-old Chevalier’s is located in a 1,500-square-foot space in Larchmont Village, a diverse and densely populated half-square-mile historic neighborhood in central L.A. that is full of restaurants, sidewalk cafés, and boutiques bordered by historic homes.

In 1990, when Chevalier reluctantly retired due to a heart condition, former high school teacher Filis Winthrop, a part-time bookseller at Chevalier’s, bought the store in partnership with a fellow staff member, Gilpin Netburne.

When Chevalier ran the store as a lending library, customers could rent a book for a few cents a day. One of the store’s best qualities is that it has always been very neighborhood-oriented, Winthrop says. “It’s in an old neighborhood where people all know each other. It became the meeting place for gossip, for friendly arguments, where everybody gathered to talk about the books they liked.”

In 2014, when it came time for Winthrop to retire, she sold the store to Daryl Holter and Bert Deixler. Holter runs numerous businesses as CEO of the Shammas Group. A historian, he is also the author of Woody Guthrie L.A.: 1937 to 1941 (Angel City Press). Bert Deixler is an attorney and a law professor; both are on the board of directors of the Los Angeles Review of Books. Day-to-day operations at Chevalier’s are currently overseen by store manager Mackenzie (Mack) Van Engelenhoven.

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