Mon09012014

Business & Real Estate

Open doors mean open books for new retailer


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bill Burruss and Cate Nelson opened Know Knew Books at 366 State St. Oct. 20.

If Bill Burruss and Cate Nelson seem to be displaying some wide grins these days, there’s a good reason behind it.

Burrus and Nelson, owners of former longtime Palo Alto fixture Know Knew Books, opened the doors to their new home at 366 State St. Oct. 20. The move to Los Altos comes after a 24-year stint on Palo Alto’s California Street – a tenure that ended shortly after learning that their lease renewal would include a significant bump in monthly rent. The used-bookstore duo discovered their new Los Altos home, formerly the site of flower shop Alabasta, after venturing to the downtown triangle to scout for potential store locations.

Overall, Nelson deemed the store’s first week in Los Altos fruitful, with plenty of curious customers coming by to check out some of the store’s 35,000 titles. Nelson added that her new merchant neighbors have rolled out the welcome mat as well. Among other things, Nature Gallery owner Carol Garsten, herself a Palo Alto transplant, welcomed the new store with a gift – geode bookends for some of the bookstore’s most prized collections.

“People have been very friendly, excited and warm to us,” said Nelson, a book enthusiast who one year ago purchased a stake in the store as it faced financial challenges.

Similar to their “all are welcome” approach in Palo Alto, Nelson and Burruss noted that they aim to turn their new retail home into “the place to be” downtown. The store is in the midst of planning several events – from poetry readings to local music performances and anything in between. Nelson and Burruss plan to keep the store open regularly until 10 p.m. in order to give downtown visitors a place to hang out.

“We just want to give people a place to go at night – a place to browse and pick up a book before going home or simply as a place to go at night in Los Altos,” said Nelson, who is soon rolling out a Know Knew Books e-newsletter to keep customers informed of new arrivals and upcoming store events.

For more information, visit knowknewbooks.com or facebook.com/knowknewbooks.

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