Maria’s Bookshop Will Stay in the Family

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Evan Schertz, son of Maria’s Bookshop owners Andrea Avantaggio and Peter Schertz, will join the family ownership of the Durango, Colorado, independent bookstore. Evan Schertz is a Durango native and will soon graduate from Colorado School of Mines. “I grew up with this bookstore. I’m very excited to step in to learn all I can and lead Maria’s Bookshop into the next chapter,” he said in a statement from the store.

From left: Peter Schertz, Evan Schertz, and Andrea Avantaggio. Photo credit: Cole Davis.
From left: Peter Schertz, Evan Schertz, and Andrea Avantaggio. Photo credit: Cole Davis

Maria’s Bookshop, an independent bookstore in downtown Durango with a nationally acclaimed reputation, is approaching its 35th anniversary. Started by Dusty Teal in 1984, the store has been owned by Andrea Avantaggio and Peter Schertz for the past 21 years. 

“Finding the next owner within our family is extraordinary,” said Peter Schertz. “While we have, of course, dreamed about family ownership of the business, we weren’t sure the timing would work out or the interest would be there.”

Evan Schertz said he recognized this as an opportunity he couldn’t pass up, and that Maria’s Bookshop ownership offers the strong community and business connections he has come to appreciate as well as the opportunity to apply the analytical and innovative mindset that drew him to study engineering. “I grew up in Durango and I value the quality of life and the community. I intend to get involved and contribute to making this place even better,” said Evan Schertz. “I’ll rely on the guidance and support from our staff and our customers to help me find successful ways to continue to grow this business.”

“What wonderful news from Durango that Maria’s will stay in the Avantaggio/Schertz family. Evan is joining a growing number of younger bookstore owners from all over the country, and we could not be more thrilled that he’ll continue the extraordinary tradition established by his parents and the previous owners of Maria’s,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “Though all of us in bookselling will miss Andrea and Peter, this transition is excellent news for Durango and for all of Maria’s fans across the country.”

Avantaggio and Peter Schertz intend to continue to work at the store for the foreseeable future. Avantaggio is inspired to show Evan around the inner workings of the business, she noted, and to introduce him to more of the community as well as industry professionals. “Evan is passionate, smart, and eager to learn,” Avantaggio said. “The future is bright for Maria’s Bookshop and Durango.”