Santo Caruso’s sports heaven in Melbourne
1 March 2015, Nirapad News: In a city known for hosting international sporting events in grand proportions, Santo Caruso – a sports enthusiast – runs a little bookshop that is a heaven for people like him. Santo Caruso’s shop may not be selling as much as it used to but this sports enthusiast continues to be passionate about sports books.
Melbourne is known as the sporting capital of Australia, thanks to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australian Open Tennis at Melbourne Park and the Formula 1 Grand Prix at Albert Park. But a small little store in a corner of the city has also contributed in boosting Melbourne’s image as a sporting city.
Started way back in 1987 by Santo Caruso, a sports enthusiast, the Melbourne Sports books is a one stop shop for buying books on sports. The subjects range from football to cricket, from hockey to rugby and from sailing to horse riding. Being the only book store in Australia dealing exclusively in sports books, Melbourne Sports Books has attracted a few high profile visitors over the years.
“2 years ago Rahul Dravid came in. He looked very thin to me. Seeing him I thought, that’s not the test cricketer he’s too small. I had Sir Donald Bradman in once, many many years ago when he was a very old man. John McEnroe the famous tennis player has visited us.
Dave Whatmore, the former Australian player and former Sri Lankan coach also came visiting once. So, a few famous people come out of their hotel and visit when they are in the city. Martina Navratilova, big strong women that she is, was also here a few years ago” says Santo, the owner of the store, with a lot of pride.
Over the years, the business has been on a decline. Last year Santo was forced to shut his three storied shop in the heart of Melbourne, where it had been for the last 13 years, and move the business to his home, since he couldn’t afford the high rents anymore.
“My sales have halved in the last 10 years. Society has changed. Computers, I-pads, I-phones, people want information quicker. So paper books are an old product, like a fax machine. Anything that is non-fiction, people find it on Google”, the 53 year old told the media.
His book bank may have reduced from five thousand to just two thousand in just a year, but Santo’s spirit and love for books keeps him going. He visits local schools regularly and encourages kids to read books, with the hope of inculcating a reading habit in the future generation.