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Vroman's Bookstore, a longstanding community treasure in Pasadena, California, is facing a pivotal moment as the current owner prepares to pass on the reins to a new generation. Joel Sheldon III, the majority shareholder, is seeking successors who share the store's passion and dedication.
Last month, Sheldon expressed his commitment to finding successors who embody the passion and dedication that has kept Vroman's a community treasure - not just the highest bidders, necessarily - in a post shared on Instagram.
The bookstore, which was founded in 1894 by Adam Clark Vroman and has since become a hub for book lovers, offers more than just books. It also has a coffee shop, wine bar, and large reading space. Over the years, it has hosted famous authors and maintained its status as a cherished community institution.
Founded in 1894 by Adam Clark Vroman and left to his godson Alan Sheldon after Vroman's death in 1916, today the bookstore offers a vast collection in addition to a coffee shop, wine bar, and large reading space. Over the years, it's hosted renowned authors such as Upton Sinclair, Ray Bradbury, and Joan Didion, per the outlet.
The decline of bookstores in the U.S. is a concerning trend. According to data from the Census Bureau's County Business Patterns, the number of bookstores decreased by more than 50% between 1998 and 2019. Vroman's potential closure is worrying for community members who value the store's presence and impact.
Heidi Barnett, a 43-year-old mother of two who frequents Vroman's with her children, is one of many community members worried about what might happen if the bookstore doesn't find a buyer and has to close. "Everybody's talking about it," she told the NYT.