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Saturday: Feldman’s Books to celebrate new Curtis Street location

Feldman’s Books, Menlo Park’s 25-year-old and last remaining used bookstore, has relocated from one of the city’s oldest buildings on El Camino Real to 1075 Curtis St.

The move to a more central downtown location has owner Jack Feldman and apprentice Aidan Stone discussing new ways to engage the community that the shop hasn’t been able to offer before, from hosting live music and poetry readings, to offering tutoring, children’s storytime sessions and debates.

“It’s a bit of an upgrade,” said Feldman in an interview.

The new location’s grand opening will be held Saturday, Aug. 14, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature music, drinks and books. The live music will start in the afternoon and will include two bands: the Gasmen, who play bluegrass and Irish music, and another band offering cumbia music, according to Stone.

Feldman’s former location, at 1170 El Camino Real, will be demolished as part of plans approved by developers Prince Street Partners to build a nine-unit residential building at 1162 to 1170 El Camino Real, which includes three below-market-rate units.

The developer team helped to facilitate the three-year lease, according to Stone.

Through the new development’s approval process, many Feldman’s fans expressed vocal opposition to the demolition of the old building that housed the bookshop. However, there are no hard feelings with the developers now, Stone said.

“They’ve done well by us and it’s all good,” he said.

The new store, Stone said, feels like “Feldman’s greatest hits.” They’re still in the process of setting up the new location, but he described plans to bring in a piano and set up an indoor fountain to offer visitors a peaceful ambiance.

The new location will be open noon to 5 p.m. each day with the exception of Sundays, when the shop will open at 10 a.m. in order to draw visitors from the Menlo Park farmers market in the adjoining parking lot each week.

Meanwhile, the old bookstore is being used as the set of an indie film that Stone is leading called “You’ll Lose a Good Thing.” He’s assembled a team of young adults and filmmakers to work on the project, which still has about 10 more days of filming to complete before they aim to edit and submit it to the Sundance Film Festival.

Access a trailer here.

Lead actor Tai Takahashi said in an interview that filming the movie at Feldman’s Books has been special because it’s a way to “cement the cultural significance of this building.”

The structure is 116 years old and one of the city’s oldest standing buildings. However, despite its age, the building was found not to meet the standards for historic preservation, according to a peer review of a historical resources evaluation for the property. This was because Menlo Park does not have its own registry of historic resources and because the building did not meet the criteria for state or federal historical preservation.

As the remainder of the books are either culled or moved from the old site to the new location, Feldman said, “There’s still a long way to go.”

“I’m very, very happy with the space,” he said. “It’s really shaping up nicely.”

Email Staff Writer Kate Bradshaw at [email protected]

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