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Bodhi Tree Closing Dec. 31; Owners Remain Hopeful About Selling Business

The internationally known New Age bookstore on Melrose Avenue will close at the end of the year, unless a possible sale comes through at the last minute.

Christmas shoppers looking for bargains may want to stop by this month. The 41-year-old spiritual, metaphysical shop at 8585 Melrose Ave. will close permanently Dec. 31, and everything in the store is on sale.

Two years ago, owners Phil Thompson and Stan Madson . Both in their 70s, Thompson and Madson were ready to retire, but they wanted to keep the business alive, so they offered it for sale.

For 18 months, there were no takers, but late in the summer, Bodhi Tree announced on its website that a purchaser had come through. Unfortunately, that deal fell apart in October, according to office manager Neisha. Now they are talking to other potential buyers.

“More than one person was looking to buy,” Neisha told Weho Patch. “These were people who were interested before, but we had already made a commitment to the two ladies. They were already in the queue, so once the two ladies backed out, we started talking to them. They’ve already been vetted, so we know they’re serious.”

The negotiations for the store are ongoing and an announcement could come any day.

“Things seem to change every day,” Neisha said. “It’s gotten to the point, we just laugh at the ups and downs, but we’re keeping good thoughts and are hopeful the sale will go through.”

If the sale does happen, the new owners will have to find a new location for the business. Thompson and Madson have sold the property to a buyer who owns several other properties along Melrose. 

But in the meantime, Bodhi Tree has put everything on sale. After the doors close on Dec. 31, they will spend the next several weeks dismantling the store and selling off fixtures. They have to vacate the premises by Jan. 31, Neisha said.

Valuable website

If someone does buy the business, that buyer may opt to run it just as an online bookstore. Bodhi Tree has a well-maintained computer system and a large database of customers. Plus, there is the Bodhi Tree name, which is known worldwide. “That’s very valuable,” said Neisha.

Bodhi Tree employs about 24 people, down from a peak of about 100 in the late 80s. All of those employees will be looking for work come the new year unless a new buyer is found.

Bodhi Tree opened on July 10, 1970, with an initial inventory of 2,000 books. At the time, books on Eastern philosophy, transcendental meditation and non-Christian religions were difficult to find as mainstream bookstores did not carry them.

Once Bodhi Tree proved there was a market for the books, publishers started producing more titles and mainstream bookstores created sections for New Age/metaphysical books.

Larger bookstores and online retailers like Amazon were able to offer deeper discounts, which hurt business. But that what hurt the business most was the parking problems created after the city introduced permit parking in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Beyond a bookstore, Bodhi Tree served as a gathering place for like-minded people. The adjacent Meeting Center building, which Thompson and Madson purchased in the late 70s, hosted many lectures, workshops and meetings on a variety of topics.

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Chloe Ross December 18, 2011 at 01:30 AM
Sheldon Andelson created MECLA at the start of the Gay Men's Aids Crisis (poorly named) with my friend Dr. Michael Roth and many others. Michael was Elizabeth's doctor and was responsible - with the sadness of Rock Hudson's decline as well, of making her aware that we were in an epidemic that was not gay but pandemic. I too know the history by being here when it happened and weeping copiously when people Ioved died. Here is the bottom line - you loathe breeders. I do not have this problem with any humans that live in my midst. Find a mate who has the same affliction; move to a solitary existence and let's cut out all this crap. I am not moving and not breeding. I am not denigrating, hating or blaming any group. Viruses don't care; pray we will end AIDS quickly. I hope you don't have it. And if you do, I hope you are doing well with medication. I have the gay in my own family and I love them and always have. I suspect my own father was gay and that was a shame - because we could have had even more fun together as I grew up had I known. He certainly was a metrosexual and a brilliant man. We always called the Bank of LA the Bank of Sheldon Andelson. Paul- I would like to end this now. We are going nowehere with it and despite your misogynistic mindset - you are someone's son and were loved - I hope by the breeders who had you. May I wish you a happy holiday and ask that we stop - now. I am not the enemy but this has run its course Shalom
Paul December 18, 2011 at 04:04 AM
I never said I hate anyone. I just prefer West Hollywood with my friends alive in well living here and enjoying life. If is definitely not the same but neither am I. I'm a lot older and naturally I see things differently at this perspective a pose to a young gay man coming up today who has no idea what it was like in the good ole days.
Lynn Russell December 24, 2011 at 06:15 PM
This breeder stuff ad nauseum has gone far beyond the point if The Bodhi Tree closing. Sad that it is this swat feast appears to represent that more folks could have and maybe should have explored the benefits of what the BT had to offer in its spiritual library of information. I will miss it sadly.
Chloe Ross December 24, 2011 at 08:50 PM
Happy Holiday Lynn and be very happy that we had this oasis of dharma for so long. Hope you have a great day.
Laura January 04, 2012 at 08:22 PM
While we're professing tolerance lets take a moment and reconsider the Sherman Oaks bashing. They're people just like us. Gay and straight. Honest. And farewell Bodhi Tree. A one-of-a-kind place.

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