Rally to save Keplers Bookstore draws hundreds in support
From The Paly Voice:
By Eleanor Byler of the Paly Voice
A crowd of nearly 500 people gathered Tuesday, Sept. 6, in protest of the recent closure of Keplers Bookstore in Menlo Park.
Senior citizens, adults, teens, and small children all gathered with signs expressing their anger at the closure of the bookstore. Keplers closed Wednesday, Aug. 31 due to an increasing rent, but have postponed on filing bankruptcy in hopes of re-opening.
The rally occurred in front of the bookstore in the Menlo Center amid the sound of cars honking in approval as they drove past. Crowds of people carrying signs packed around a makeshift podium where among others several prominent politicians spoke.
Keplers Bookstore, which had just celebrated its 50th anniversary, hosted many budding authors, including Paly's own authors, juniors Sarah Miller, Alex Sikeleather and Miriam Yelton. Keplers was also a home to beginning musicians, including Joan Baez and the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia.
"The book talks here made the greatest minds accessible to all," former Menlo Park Mayor Gale Slocum said.
As well as being a landmark in the Menlo Park downtown, the Keplers administration was involved in the community. Keplers kept a good relationship with the schools with its summer reading program and frequent book discussions. Many publishing companies would not be in business today if not for independent bookstores such as Keplers, which give back to the local economy much more than chain bookstores.
"Your checkbook speaks about your values," said Slocum. "You should be spending your money in ways to support local businesses."
Printers Inc. Bookstore is one of several local businesses to close recently as a result of large chain stores such as Barnes and Noble and Borders. To compete with the ongoing trend of online shopping, Keplers created a Website at http://www.keplers.com/ in hopes of boosting sales.
"If you can't hold onto a bookstore in a place like this, in the shadow of Stanford University and in the heart of Silicon Valley," Slocum said, "Where can you?"
Within 14 hours of Keplers' closure, Rick Opaterny, the creator of "www.savekeplers.com" received offers of $50,000 to $100,000 to help Keplers reopen.
"You [as citizens] are powerful people," Slocum said. "Use your power."
To help the cause, Keplers is looking for qualified investors to make large contributions to help reopen the bookstore. Letters to the Tan Group in support of the Keplers cause are helpful, as is joining the Save Keplers mailing list. For more information visit: http://www.savekeplers.com/
"With your support we can be here for another 50 years," owner Clark Kepler said.
This story originally appeared exclusively online on September 13, 2005.