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Sewickley's Penguin Bookshop for sale — again

Peter Yarrow, 74, of the folk music trio Peter, Paul and Mary, talks to children following a short performance at Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley on July 30, 2012. Yarrow's visit also included a book signing for his new children's book, 'It's Raining, It's Pouring.' Photo by Kristina Serafini

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Penguin Bookshop history

• 1929: Penguin Bookshop opens on Chestnut Street under the name “Penguin Island.” It later moved to a former cigar shop on Beaver Street.

• 1939: Penguin was sold for $1.

• 1981: Penguin Bookshop was sold again and moved into its current building at 420 Beaver St.

• 1987: Staff member Margaret Marshall became the new owner of Penguin.

• 2007: Bud and Janet McDanel purchase Penguin Bookshop. Under the McDanels, the building underwent a $1 million renovation, making it the first LEED-certified independent bookshop in the county.

• 2012: Penguin Bookshop sells more than $500,000 in merchandise.

• June 2013: Penguin Bookshop owners announce plans to sell shop.

Source: Paz & Associates

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 6:06 p.m.

For the second time since 2007, Sewickley's iconic bookstore is for sale.

Owners of the Penguin Bookshop — an 84-year-old staple nestled among other mostly mom-and-pop-type shops along the town's main retail thoroughfare, Beaver Street — say they are hoping to sell the business by the end of the year.

“It certainly needs new, younger owners,” said Janet McDanel, 75, who along with her husband Bud put about $1 million into renovating the property when they purchased the store in 2007.

“The bookstore is vital to Sewickley. It's a meeting place. We have book clubs that meet there (and) lots of events go on.”

Penguin Bookshop has been visited by well-known personalities such as chef Lidia Bastianich; Peter Yarrow of the famed music group Peter, Paul and Mary; and Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel; among others.

McDanel said she and her husband “fell into” owning the business when former owner Margaret Marshall was selling the store.

Both of the McDanels have a “strong feeling of community for the Village and thought it was an important businesses to have,” McDanel said.

She said the couple is hoping someone within the Sewickley Valley community would consider taking over the business.

“The key ingredients are all in place — a loyal customer base, a dedicated, hard-working staff and a beautiful setting,” McDanel said. “We have a wonderful staff of readers and booksellers with expertise, genuine friendliness and a desire to connect people with good books.”

No sale price for the business was available.

In 2012, Penguin Bookshop sold more than $500,000 in books, stationery, calendars and gift items, according to Paz & Associates — a Florida-based bookstore training company overseeing the sale of the store for the McDanels.

Alex DeLoia, of Village Green Partners — a Sewickley-based nonprofit marketing the town's business district — said the organization hopes a new owner can be found.

“It would be really, really sad if the Penguin left,” DeLoia said. “It's such a landmark in Sewickley.”

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or

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