Back when Pasadena was considered a resort town surrounded by fruit orchards, Vroman’s Bookstore cropped up along Colorado Boulevard. Today, Vroman’s stands as one of SoCal’s oldest & largest independent bookstores. Vroman’s executive team members Dolores & Sherri recently sat down with the Future Yourself Here Team to talk about the Vroman’s story, doing business in Pasadena, and how they’ve weathered dips in the economy to be a 125 year old institution.
What is The Vromans’ story?
Dolores: Vroman’s was founded by Adam Clark Vroman in 1894. Vroman’s was created to establish a business based on extraordinary customer service and to support the community through philanthropy.
Every company grows over time. How has Vromans evolved?
Dolores: Vroman’s has always been a bookstore that incorporates merchandise and services relevant to customer’s needs. In the beginning, we were one of the first retailers of Kodak products (inspired by Mr. Vroman’s love of photography) while today you can find a wide selection of gift, luxury brand and custom printing services. Consistent through the years has been an unwavering desire to make the shopping experience at Vroman’s the best part of a customer’s day by providing excellent customer service, knowledgeable booksellers and quality merchandise.
What are some of Vromans’ accomplishments you’re most proud of?
Sherri: We’ve weathered dips in the economy and with the influx of big box stores and online retailers yet we’ve remained an important destination in the community for 124 years. I’m proud of the incredible selection of books and gifts in our store, and the extensive author event program we offer.
What was the most important thing you learned in school?
Dolores:There are no shortcuts; you’ve got to do the work in order to truly reap the benefits!
Sherri: Through school I learned to love books, reading, and learning. I’m so incredibly fortunate to have a career that focuses on the things I’m most passionate about.
Everyone has an a-ha moment. When was yours?
Dolores: My a-ha moment was when I realized I have a gift to listen, guide, train and influence people in a positive and life-changing way.
Sherri: When I was in high school, I went on a trip to Germany and Austria. It was my first time out of the country and my world view was greatly expanded from it. I went to several incredible art museums and although the experience was overwhelming, it has influenced my life ever since and sparked my love for travel and art.
What makes Pasadena an attractive place to do business?
Sherri: Vroman’s is a beloved Pasadena institution. While the Mediterranean climate first attracted Mr. Vroman to the city, we remain because of the community. Vroman’s has supported a wide variety of causes and institutions through the Vroman’s Gives Back charitable program and to date the store has donated $655,998.52 on behalf of our customers.