Introduction for A Different Light Bookstore and Norman Laurila
Not long after Glad Day moved into its first Yonge Street location, my friend and communal housemate Norman Laurila decided to drop out of U of T, where he was studying landscape architecture, to become Glad Day's first manager. After only a few months Norman announced that his close friend George Leigh had proposed opening a chain of gay bookstores in the U.S. George was a corporate lawyer and would fund the project with Norman as an equal partner. Norman's role was to oversee and manage the shops.
Their first store was in the Silverlake area of Los Angeles. After a few successful years they opened their second bookshop on Hudson Street in New York City's gay village. When that store was also successful they went on to open a third bookshop in San Francisco. Gay writer and activist Richard Labonte moved to San Francisco to become the store's manager.
I never visited either of the California shops, but did stop by to see Norman in his New York locations. George died of AIDS related complications on January 16, 1998. Ironically both Norman and I left the book business around the same time, in the year 2000.