It was a day of thanks and congratulations, cheers and even some tears as Kepler’s Books and Magazines in Menlo Park reopened minutes before noon Saturday, Oct. 8.
Several hundred people flocked to cheer and support Clark Kepler and other speakers at an 11 a.m. rally, and the crowd followed a smiling Kepler into the store when it was officially reopened shortly before noon.
“I thank you all,” Kepler said to the cheering crowd. “I’ve worked harder the last 35 or 40 days than I have my entire life.”
Kepler abruptly closed the store Aug. 31, blaming the economic downturn, but members of the community took action to save it.
The store was created 50 years ago by Kepler's father, Roy, as one of the first to sell high-quality paperback books and sell coffee and snacks inside the store -- plus use the store to carry a pacifist, antiwar and socially progressive political message. It
Mayor Mickie Winkler honored two people -- Daniel Mendez and Anne Banta -- whom she labeled key figures in getting Kepler’s back on its feet.
Mendez, a member of the newly established Kepler's Board of Directors and founder of the “Patrons Circle” investment group, said the number of investors has already grown from 17 to 23. All investments were finalized Friday morning, he said.
Banta, the new chief marketing officer for Kepler’s, urged the crowd to sign up for Kepler’s membership program, the “Literary Circle.”
More than 200 volunteers have already signed on to help, she said.
Winkler also thanked the Tan Group, the Palo Alto-based company that owns Menlo Center, for being “responsive and flexible” in renegotiating the bookstore’s lease.