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How One Can Change Everything

How One Can Change Everything

Posted by: Alexa Bottura                                        


I first arrived in Washington D.C. in March of 201a. My mother and I were looking at colleges in the area, we stayed at the Dupont Circle Hotel. A cute, very modern establishment that has a minimalist, 20th century feel to it. It was fun because of how these qualities of the hotel, both clashed and complemented, the somewhat older and more rustic feel this small bookstore/restaurant – bar emanated from across the street. This place is Kramerbooks & Afterwords a Cafe. Yet, this charming little bookstore, a small treasure that all who know it love, recently made it on local and national news.

After having been under the same management for 40 years,Kramerbooks & Afterwords a Cafe was swept into a whirlwind of change because of its new younger manager, Steve Salis. The 33 year old, in fact, who is also the co-founder of the local pizza chain &pizza, took hold of the establishment around November of 2016. However, after more than 40 years under the same management, any change to the usual routine would be taken very hard by anyone. Especially if this new entrepreneur came in, ready to expand and renovate.

The reason Kramerbooks & Afterwords a Cafe, landmark to any visitor, and favorite hangout spot for locals, made the news recently, was because of how Salis’s new management plan was poorly received by all the employees. In fact, it was so ill received, that the entire longtime management team quit a week ago. Salis spoke out to this effect saying that he wasn’t fully sure about the reasoning behind their leaving; all he noticed was that from one day to the next they weren’t working anymore.

From the events director, to the general manager to the head buyer; one after the other, workers decided they could not deal with the bookstore’s new direction. Since its opening in 1976, Kramerbooks & Afterwords a Cafe became quickly a neighborhood hangout spot for every type of person. The store is famously known for one of their most interesting customers, Monica Lewinsky, and also for various visitors like Andy Warhol and Toni Morrison. However, this place represented for me the first spot in which I started falling in love with Washington D.C. New management is part of how businesses operate: They are bought, built, then sometimes even sold, remodeled, expanded and completely renovated. It is upsetting to watch change happen. Yet, there might still be hope for Steve Salis and his new team.


Original Story: “Management team at Kramerbooks quits as new owner’s changes take hold”, by Abha Bhattarai, Washington Post, Feb 12th 2017

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