By CBSLA Staff

PASADENA (CBSLA) — Vroman’s Bookstore, a favorite gathering place for book lovers and a longtime fixture of Pasadena, has issued a plea for support to help keep its doors open.

The Colorado Street bookstore, which first opened in Pasadena in 1894, has survived the proliferation of bookstore giants like Borders and Barnes & Nobles and the rise of online retail giant Amazon, which got its start in the book business. But the store says these past few months have been the most difficult in its 126 years in business.

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“If Vroman’s is to survive, sales must increase significantly now through the holidays,” the bookstore said in an email to its customers.

The store says it is open for business both at its Pasadena location and online, but sales are still down almost 40%, which is not enough to keep them in business.

“Vroman’s has always had a truly special relationship with our customers,” the store said in the email. “Today, we are asking for your help.”

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The store is urging its customers to shop online, in-store or by phone, and encouraging them to come in before the holiday rush. The bookstore is also asking its customers to reach out to their friends to spread the word that they need support.

“You, our valued customers, will make the difference as to whether we can continue in business,” the bookstore’s email said.

Customer Lisa Yee came by on Monday to buy gifts for her family after learning Vroman’s was in financial trouble and at risk of closing.

“My kids grew up coming here. They just love this store,” Yee said. “So, my daughter will be coming this afternoon to go shopping also.”

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Small businesses, especially those dependent on heavy foot traffic, have been hit hard by the pandemic. Many were unable to obtain coronavirus relief loans that largely ended up going to corporations with plenty of lawyers and existing relationships with banks, and bars and hair salons have been forced to close permanently.