130-Year-Old California Bookstore Seeks Buyer

Dawn Levesque, 77, goes to learn about World War II. Heidi Barnett, 43, a mother of two, comes to buy presents for her children. Justin Beblawi, 25, has visited since he was a kid and now goes to work there as a clerk.

For people of all ages in Pasadena, Calif., Vroman’s Bookstore, founded in 1894, has been a mainstay, a meeting place, a reliable sanctuary in a world of rapid change. When its founder, Adam Clark Vroman, died in 1916, he left the bookstore to his godson, Alan Sheldon, a Vroman’s employee.

The current chairman and majority shareholder, Joel Sheldon III, 79, is the third generation of his family to guide the company and has been at the helm for more than 45 years.

Now, as Vroman’s prepares to celebrate its 130th anniversary, Sheldon has decided it’s time to hand over the reins.

He doesn’t just want to sell to the highest bidder, however. Sheldon wants to leave the bookstore in good hands.

“Vroman’s deserves new ownership with the vision, energy, and commitment necessary to take it successfully into the future,” Sheldon said in an Instagram post announcing his decision last month.


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