Vroman’s Asked for Help and the Community Delivered

Bookstores are already scarce in Los Angeles but with the pandemic in hand, how are they able to stay open?


Ana Pineda-Gonzalez

Entrance to Vroman’s bookstore in Pasadena.

On Monday, Sept. 28, Vroman’s, a well-known bookstore in Pasadena, sent out a newsletter to their subscribers that they were in need of help because while their “foot traffic and sales are improving” they were “still down almost 40%.” What they needed most was an increase in their sales from the day the newsletter was sent out until the holidays, which are coming up right around the corner. Vromans’s claims to be providing more items for the occasion. Besides having more in-store items, they’ll be expanding their website and curbside pick-up products. 

They summarized that they initially needed customers to come shop at Vroman’s in any way that they could, either through the website for delivery or pick-up. Just a couple weeks ago they opened their store and have maintained limited in-person store shopping for customers. They have changed their store hours by being open everyday from 10:30 a.m to 6:00 p.m.

Ana Pineda-Gonzalez

A couple weeks have passed since. El Vaquero reached out to understand how this household name in the San Fernando Valley is faring. The CEO of Vroman’s, Julia Cowlishaw, reassured that the community came to Vroman’s aid.



“We experienced an overwhelming number of internet orders the first week of October,” said Cowlishaw. Compared to last year and this year’s sales records “at the end of September, sales were slowly returning but about 40% down compared to the previous year. October sales exceeded October 2019.” The community was able to help Vroman’s a great deal since last year was a “normal” year and with the pandemic they were able to overcome the usual sales that they expected. However, closing doors for Vroman’s is “difficult to answer because of the many variables involved, including the length and scope of the pandemic and the timing and efficacy of vaccinations.”

Ana Pineda-Gonzalez

They are trying to do everything they can to stay in business by reaching out to new and regular customers about any changes they want to see in Vroman’s. 

To help Vroman’s visit their website or drop by in person.


Ana Pineda-Gonzalez can be reached at [email protected]