On March 17th, Angel City closed its doors to protect customers during the COVID-19 pandemic and to uphold the mandate now followed by all businesses the government has deemed non-essential. Today, the store is asking for a donation that could save it from closing forever.
Since opening in 1998, Angel City has become a destination and a cultural fixture in Santa Monica for readers and record collectors. If you’ve shopped at the store, you know it houses an unparalleled collection of rare and vintage books and records. It’s a store and an ever-evolving museum, a place to admire the art on the walls and the shelves. There’s nowhere else in the city where you can buy a first edition and a first pressing at the same time.
With uncertainty about when the store will be allowed to re-open, owner Rocco Ingala is asking for the public’s help in preserving it.
If you’ve been to Angel City or called the store, you know Rocco. He’s the kind, soft-spoken 66-year-old gentleman who greets every customer and arranges the store wearing his customary all-denim uniform. However, you might not know that the store wouldn’t exist without Rocco. In addition to being the owner, he is the sole employee, curator, business manager, etc. Despite suffering a cardiac arrest five years ago that impaired his balance and ability to walk, Rocco uses his walker to come into work every day to provide books and records to customers new and old.
The bookstore operates with a very small budget, and not having an income is devastating to its security. Rocco believes that with a “little help from his friends” he will be able to continue running Angel City once the closure is lifted. But he cannot afford to get behind in rent and bills both for the store and at home. Keep in mind that, even if Angel City and other non-essential businesses can re-open, Rocco may still have to keep the store closed. With his age and several chronic health conditions, he must be extremely cautious.
Angel City Books & Records may be non-essential right now, but it will be a vital part of the Santa Monica community if it returns. Your donation to this fund will ensure that Rocco and Angel City are around for years to come!
If you want to read more about the history of Angel City Books & Records, please read this feature from local alt-weekly The LAnd:
- S.A. Griffin
- Daniel Herrera
- Tatum Rangel
- Russell Shinpo
- Georgia McClain
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