Bruce Stevenson

One of downtown Penticton's most-established businessmen has died.

Bruce Stevenson, owner of The Book Shop, died Saturday morning at Penticton Regional Hospital after a battle with cancer. He was 77.

A former high school teacher, he quit his job in 1974 and opened a used bookstore in Penticton, first on Martin Street (as Valley Books and Things) and then at 242 Main Street for the past 27 years. At one point in the early years, his family operated three small stores.

Over the years, The Book Shop became renowned as one of the top used book stores in Western Canada, remarkable for being located in a city the size of Penticton. There are 80,000 titles on display (plus movie rentals of Canadian and independent films), along with another 80,000 books in storage.

In an interview with The Herald earlier this month when he announced his retirement, Stevenson reflected on his many years in business.

“The biggest enjoyment is the books and the people,” he said “I like the people who work for me. It’s a fun place to go. But, I like the product. I probably like seeking the books more than selling them, but I have to sell some or else I can’t continue to seek them.”

The Herald's website lit up with posts Saturday morning when his death was announced.

"He was the best mentor to me since I was 17," Lori Robb-Hughes, an interior designer from Vancouver wrote on Facebook. "He taught my family and I so many things, exposed us to many books, ideas, long discussions over directors, movies and thought-provoking beliefs that I remember to this day. Fond visits often to his shop. A true and kind friend."

The Book Shop will continue under the direction of his wife, children, and manger Roz Campigotto, who has been with the Stevensons for more than 30 years.

At Bruce Stevenson's request, there will not be a memorial service or funeral.