Returns Desk, Annie Bloom's Books, Portland, Oregon
Local legend Richard German calligraphed the signs seen throughout Annie Bloom’s Books. “His nickname was the mayor of Multnomah Village. He would just kind of make his rounds everywhere,” says manager Will Peters.
“He was a hanger-arounder early in the store, and finally Bobby said, ‘Do you want a job?’ He said, ‘Sure.’ So then he hung around for pay,” recounts bookseller Matt Plies.
In the late ‘70s German would sometimes hang a sign on the door that read “Gone to Gabriel Park", and the store would be closed for hours. In the ‘80s, when the store offices were upstairs, German started a side business repairing bikes in the basement.
“He did once sell books to customers, like ring them up and stuff. But once we got computers, that was too much; he didn’t want to deal with computers,” Plies says. German stayed on behind the scenes, handling shipping and maintenance. He kept a desk and a few personal belongings in the store’s basement.
“If we had out-of-store events, though, he would go sell books … he was just this eccentric guy. He’d make friends with the authors a lot,” Peters remembers.
German died of an aneurysm while bicycle camping in 2010; he was 63. In the front of the tattered address book he left behind, German had listed his address as 7834 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR—the address of Annie Bloom’s Books.