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For years, the Belltower has been the picturesque landmark of downtown Placerville, a symbol of communication and history.
Just across the street at 409 Main St., Placerville News Co. has been the hub of information for decades, with its telltale newstand right out front.
Sure, you can buy just about any newspaper or magazine there, but there’s so much more.
Candy, souvenirs and a whole book section make this store a beloved part of the community.
It is a showcase for local artists, authors and it has a wonderful book and map section, carrying an impressive and ambitious selection of the books and pamphlets that have recorded the Gold Country’s fascinating heritage.
“In our book section we specialize in nature and history. I really try to carry the books by local authors, and we have book signings here several times a year,” enthused Mary Meader, who is an avid reader herself. “But if you can’t find it here, I can order it.”
A true peek at the real heart of Placerville, this charming store has been in business at the same spot since 1856, and of course, they’ve carried the Mountain Democrat all that time.
The true heart of any community, of course, is its people. And that is exemplified by Meader, who took over the business from her dad some 12 years ago.
“I am here a lot,” Meader said happily. Friendly and kind, Meader makes it a joy to purchase sundry items in her store, even if its just a newspaper or a package of gum. Every once in a while, Placerville News Co. has the old-fashioned gum, like Clove, Black Jack, Beemans and Teaberry.
Currently, Teaberry and Beemans are available, but you never know when the nostalgic Black Jack and Clove gum will show up, too — they are released by the manufacturer sporadically.
Gifts from the past
For those who remember the good old days, Placerville News Co. has the gum, the candy and the objects fondly recalled from days gone by, but magically found right in Placerville’s hub. What great stocking stuffers and gifts for those who remember the past and want to share their memories with the younger generation.
Though renowned for its book and magazine section, Placerville News Co. has just about everything, from office supplies, artist supplies to exquisite jewelry, Yankee Candles and Camille Beckman lotion and bath products, souvenir T-shirts, games, puzzles and a great selection of globes.
“Our merchandise evolves constantly,” said Meader. “We have a lot of gifts, collectibles and art, too.”
The best things are free
Some of the things at the Placerville News Co., like the history, ambiance and customer service, are precious. But like the gift wrapping, it’s free. The personnel happily and expertly gift wrap purchases for no extra charge. They also provide general gift wrapping services for a small fee.
Now her children work there too, her youngest, daughter Chris Webster and her eldest, Jeff Meader. Naturally the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree; their spirits are infused with the same enthusiasm of serving the customers and the willingness to go the extra mile.
Decorated for the season
Placerville News Co., all decorated for the holidays, is among the most fascinating stores to be found downtown. It’s the ideal spot to find gift books, and books on any subject that will show the recipient that you appreciate their passion, whether it be for history, nature, music or simply a good read.
While the written word takes center stage at the downtown shop, there are so many interesting, beautiful and delicious things to be found, that Placerville News Co. is a wonderful place to browse, buy and just to feel good and to meet kindred souls.
The juxtaposition of old and new make it a sublime place to shop during the holidays and all year long.
“We’re here to help our customers and our community,” said Meader.
Placerville News Co. is open 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday (8 p.m. throughout the holiday season) and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is 530-622-4510.
Placerville News Co. resonates with history and good will, and if there are any spirits from past holidays lingering about, they’re obviously friendly and contented. After all, what better place to hang out than a shop loaded with history and known for lending a hand and providing cheer throughout the decades?
Placerville News Co. has it all, showcasing the joy of newspapers, magazines, books and gift items, while being a hub of friendliness, up-to-date information and historical perspective.