Monday, November 28, 2005

"Follow me to Kepler's. It's our bookstore."

THAT'S THE SLOGAN on the back of the new, black t-shirts at Kepler's Bookstore in Menlo Park, Calif. The beloved independent bookstore just recently reopened after a bevy of community members helped pitch in with energy, enthusiasm and investment.

Pictures from the Save Kepler's bookstore rally. See more on Flickr.

It's a great demonstration of just how important local businesses are to communities - how they're often at the center of where families spend time, where customers spend money, and where all that investment is returned in a stronger local community. (Check out the pictures from the Save Kepler's community rally.)

Kepler's is in a great location in Menlo Park, and families often pop into the bookstore after grabbing some food at nearby at Cafe Borrone. Kepler's is the kind of bookstore I'm sure you've seen in your hometown, too. Bookstores like the Tattered Cover in Denver, Colo. or Dawn Treader Book Shop in Ann Arbor, Mich. Or Midnight Special Bookstore on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Calif. (a great place to see stars while perusing your literary fancy.)

Kepler's closed suddenly earlier this year, much to the community's surprise. As a result, passionate customers and volunteers chipped in, helped build a new business plan and marketing strategy, and raised money to get the bookstore back on its feet. In a demonstration of how beloved the bookstore is, on the day of its reopening, it sold five times more books than usual.

The community depends on these businesses for its relationships to flourish. The businesses depend on these local customers to stay in business. It's a symbiotic relationship that pays dividends in more ways than cash.

Let me know the names of your favorite local bookstores, and we'll print them in our next blog post.

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