Chevalier’s Books seeks to become a community hub

| June 27, 2024 | 0 Comments

NEW MANAGER at Chevalier’s Books, Mackenzie Van Engelenhoven, stands surrounded by bookshelves in the store.

Chevalier’s Books, at 133 N. Larchmont Blvd., wants to make its shop a hub for the community, according to the store’s new general manager, Mackenzie “Mack” Van Engelenhoven. “We want people [of all ages] to gather, learn and socialize at the store.” In March, she became the manager of the oldest independent bookstore in Los Angeles. It opened in 1940.

Van Engelenhoven got her master’s degree in children and young adult literature from Simmons College in Boston. While in graduate school, she started selling books to help pay her tuition. She thought she’d eventually move to New York City and get a flashy job in publishing. However, she fell in love with selling books and hasn’t stopped.

For the past 10 years, she’s worked at various independent bookstores across the country. She moved to Los Angeles after the pandemic, and she writes novels as Mackenzie Lee. In October 2022, she wandered into Chevalier’s looking for seasonal work, and she never left.

“I’m very passionate about small businesses. I love Larchmont and feel so lucky to have stumbled upon the area when I moved to Los Angeles. I’m extremely happy to be here,” Van Engelenhoven says. She also thinks the staff at Chevalier’s is terrific.

She and her assistant manager, Nat Eastman, have plenty of events lined up at the store to entice customers to stay awhile and meet each other. For children, there is story time on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. and a summer reading club where they receive a free book after reading 10 books. Thursday afternoons at 2 p.m., kids make craft projects. For teens, there is a zine (short for fanzine, as in “fan magazine”) section in-store to browse, and adults have a monthly book club.

In addition to the store’s robust roster of events with in-store appearances by  authors, Van Engelenhoven is planning a trivia night and partnering with Typewriter Connection, a local resource, for an evening of progressive story-writing created the old-fashioned way — on a typewriter.

To keep track of all the ongoing events, Van Engelenhoven recommends signing up for the store’s newsletter at You can also spot her on the Boulevard with her St. Bernard, Queenie.

DOGS OF CHEVALIER’S adorn the wall of the local bookstore after posing for their Polaroid moments.

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Category: People

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