American Booksellers Association CEO spends time at Sewickley's Penguin shop
Customers at the Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley were greeted last month by a very important person.
Oren Teicher, the chief executive officer of the American Booksellers Association, helped sell and shelve books, and filled in where needed during the holiday rush, Dec. 18-20.
Teicher said he tries to spend a few days in member stores each December.
Based in White Plains, N.Y., the booksellers association is the national trade group for independent bookstores, with 600 stores reporting to it every week.
Teicher, the CEO since 2009, said he enjoys volunteering and talking with people who read.
It was his first visit to the Penguin Bookshop since it moved into its current location on Beaver Street.
Teicher worked in unassuming fashion.
Cindy Thompson of Pittsburgh's North Side was surprised to learn the position of the man who recommended books for a gift.
She said she and Teicher had a good conversation.
Annette Cronauer of Sewickley was impressed by how personable Teicher is and how he was helping a “little local business.”
Penguin Bookshop manager Mary Ferris said Teicher is down to earth.
Teicher enjoyed his visit and said it was a pleasure to watch Penguin Bookshop staff and customers interact.
“I had a wonderful few days in Sewickley,” he said. “The Penguin Bookshop is a superb example of how an indie bookstore can make an enormously positive contribution to the community where they are located.
“I heard repeatedly from many customers how important Penguin was to Sewickley. The Penguin staff is exceptional; they know their books and they know their customers.”
Penguin Bookshop owner Susan Hans O'Connor said her shop, which was founded in 1929, has had record-breaking sales recently, but challenges remain, as they do for all independent book stores.
Karen Kadilak is a contributing writer.