Saturday, October 08, 2005

It's a Wonderful Life

Kepler's Bookstore re-opened its doors this morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by throngs of supportive readers who cheered on Clark Kepler and his dedicated staff. Cafe Borrone distributed free cookies while Mayor Winkler announced a city proclamation thanking Daniel Mendez and all the other tireless volunteers and investors for saving the cultural landmark of Menlo Park. Throughout the afternoon, a jazz band serenaded the festive plaza, as the crowd descended upon the store shelves. As of this moment--5 minutes to closure--the checkout lines have still not receded, and the number of neighbors who signed up for Kepler's Membership far surpassed anyone's expectations.

As my son and I spoke to Clark today, his determined but friendly demeanor reminded me of Jimmy Stewart in Frank Capra's classic film It's A Wonderful Life (re-enacted here by bunnies). Upon his father's death, George Bailey reluctantly set aside his personal ambitions to assume the family business, for the good of Bedford Falls. Many years later, when circumstances beyond his control threatened to bankrupt the business, George felt responsible for the failure, and sank into a state of despondency. But as George reflected upon his contributions and importance within his community, he felt a renewed sense of purpose; meanwhile, all his grateful neighbors converged upon his home with unexpected pledges of financial and emotional support that saved his troubled business.

Substitute Menlo Park for Bedford Falls, and you have the story of Clark Kepler. Perhaps today, just like George Bailey, Clark realized that he is a more successful man than he had thought.

So here's to Clark, the richest man in town!


  1. Anonymous1:23 PM

    The real way for people to show their support for independent booksellers is not by purchasing memberships or other charitable acts but by patronizing the independent booksellers instead of the chains or Amazon.

    Ken Ross
    (brother of Andy Ross, the owner of Cody's Books in Berkeley and now in San Francisco.)

  2. Anonymous8:23 AM

    Thanks, David, and all the amazing folks who came on Saturday. David, you may not even know how right you are when you compare Clark to George Bailey.

    Now we're in the days after the credits roll. Will the community chose to sustain independent bookstores?

    My dad created a center for independent THOUGHT. Clark has continued that. Do people want to think anymore? I'm betting YES!

    Dawn Kepler
    Clark's sister