Kepler’s CEO Praveen Madan wants to make one thing clear: Book seller Nancy Salmon, who’s been with the store for 15 years, has the largest customer following of any staff.
“I tell them what I like,” says Nancy. “But I also tell them what I don’t like!”
Adds Praveen: “It’s all about building trust with the customer, and Nancy does it exceptionally well.”
We were at the book store in advance of its 60th anniversary celebration on September 19, which will feature games, block-party inspired food, and “amazing cool limited-edition Kepler’s swag,” wrapping up with a birthday cake. The time is 2:30 to 5:00 pm; those interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP.
Nancy says she started working at Kepler’s during a low point in her life. “I thought to myself, ‘I love to read,'” she says. “‘I bet I could tell other people about the books I read.’ So, I applied for a job here, and it changed my life!”
She says she mainly reads biography and memoirs and averages two to three books a week. Two of her favorite books are Unbroken and Boys in the Boat.
“Nancy has a stellar reputation among publishers about what’s going to be a sure thing,” says Praveen, who first got into the book selling business in 2007. He became Kepler’s CEO in 2011.
“From the beginning, I was interested in creating the book store of the future,” he says. “What did it look like?
“But it really didn’t happen until I got here. The non-profit element was the key, with our literary community programs. But the for-profit side is also community supported. It’s the only way places like this can work.”
Side note: Thanks to Jym Clendenin, here’s a link to list of other Menlo Park businesses that have been around 50 years: https://sites.google.com/site/mphistorical/home/businesses-in-mp-50-yrs
Photo by Irene Searles