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Livraria Cultura turns 60 and is a reference in the Brazilian market

The company has three stores in São Paulo, one in Campinas, one in Porto Alegre, one in Brasília and one in Recife; in 2008, they will open one other store.

An entrepreneurship success story. This is how the trajectory of Livraria Cultura, that reached 60 years of activities in Brazil during 2007, can be defined. The company founded in 1947 by Eva Herz, is a reference in the domestic market.

Today, Cultura has seven units – three in São Paulo, one in Campinas, nearby São Paulo, one in Recife, another one in Porto Alegre and also one store in Brasília. In 2008, they will open one new store in São Paulo, at a new mall called Shopping Bourbon.

Livraria Cultura has over one thousand employees who are committed to offering the public a concept that goes beyond the mere book selling. “Each store is more than a bookstore, it”s an entertainment center where customers go not only to buy, but also to get updated and to debate ideas”, says Pedro Herz, who”s been running the company for 38 years. “Our employees are always ready to provide the customers advice while they”re buying, or help them finding the product they”re looking for. This has always been a feature in our business."

Another strong feature in Livraria Cultura is the diversity in its catalog, that includes over 2,5 million book titles, in addition of CDs and DVDs. Also, the stores are kept updated through the retailing of publications in several languages, such as Spanish, English, French and Italian, besides Portuguese, of course. Each store keeps an average collection of 150,000 titles.

The store at the building Conjunto Nacional, in São Paulo, located on one of the most important avenues in town, Paulista Avenue, that opened in May 2007, is the largest bookstore in the country. It”s an area of 46,280 square feet distributed among three floors. After being renovated in December 2007, Livraria Cultura opened an store exclusively dedicated to the Art sector at the same building.

A traditional gathering spot for authors and readers, all Cultura units have an auditorium that features concerts, shows, Jazz nights, conferences, philosophical cafes and autograph parties. And all these events are free. However, the Conjunto Nacional unit has a theater, the Eva Herz Theater, with a capacity for 166 people, where all the above events take place, besides children and adult plays, but for these tickets must be paid for.

Story

The story of Livraria Cultura began when Eva Herz, mother of the current president of the network, thought of starting a service of book rental, at the living room of her own home in São Paulo. Those were difficult times. Escaping from the Nazi persecution, the family had left Berlin in 1938 and had to find ways of increasing their income.

In 1950, Eva decided to enhance the business and besides renting books, she began to sell them.

By then, her reputation was established among the mothers in town, who would send their children to her, not only to rent or buy books, but also to get her advice on what to read.

In 1969, she gave up the rental service, keeping only the bookstore, then established in a house where the two front rooms were used for the store, while the back was the family home.

That same year, Pedro took over the administration of their business and made his mother”s dream come true: that of settling at a largest place, at Conjunto Nacional. It was in that address that the company established the profile that made it known: a large bookstore with quality, diversity and good services.

During the 70”s they start the process of enlarging the Cultura unit at Conjunto Nacional. In 1990, Fabio and Sergio Herz, Pedro”s sons, start working at the company. By the end of 1997 Cultura had four stores dispersed around Conjunto Nacional.

In 1995, Livraria Cultura created its internet site, and following the world trend, became the first Brazilian bookstore to sell on-line. In 2000, another great project of the board was accomplished: Cultura opened its first branch. A space of 32,290 square feet at Shopping Villa-Lobos, in São Paulo.

In 2003, Cultura opened its first branch in another town, at Bourbon Shopping Country, in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul state. In 2004, that happened in Recife, Pernambuco, and the following year in Brasília, the country”s capital. In July 2006, it would be the turn for another mall in São Paulo to get a store: Market Place.

In 2007, in addition of starting operations at its new premises at Conjunto Nacional, Cultura invested in renovating its visual identity. In 2008, they opened one store in April, in Campinas, and they are get prepared for the opening of one other store during the second semester.

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