Bob and Angel Dobrow met in New York City 30 years ago. Back in the day, one of their favorite pastimes was walking the streets of the City and exploring New York’s amazing bookstores. The books they collected over the years are now part of the starting inventory of Zenith Bookstore. Bob and Angel raised three sons, had many interesting jobs and life experiences, and moved to Northfield, Minnesota in 2001. On a trip to the North Shore they fell in love with Duluth.
Opening a bookstore fulfills a life-time dream — to establish a place that celebrates a passion for books and reading while fostering inclusiveness and community.
Bob is retired from 20 years of teaching math and statistics at Carleton College. An avid reader, he also enjoys hiking, cooking, and playing cards. Bob authored two college probability textbooks. He is also an active martial artist in Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate.
Angel, long active in the food, sustainability and environmental movements, is a voracious reader and organizes the monthly Zenith Reads book club. Be sure to ask her for recommendations! She also is an herbalist and runs a CSA in Duluth for medicinal and culinary herbs.
It Takes a Village!
Opening a bookstore is a huge commitment of time, work and resources. We could not have done it without the help and support of our friends and family, and so many wonderful people we have met along the way, including many wise and generous folks in the book industry. These people painted walls, tore up carpeting, donated books, and gave some great advice. Thank you!!!
Meet Our Staff
Nikki Silvestrini, Zenith Bookstore's general manager, grew up in Duluth telling stories about Lake Superior and the monsters that live there. Ready for her own adventures, she soon found herself in Indiana and Oregon where she pursued undergraduate and graduate degrees in Folklore and Ethnomusicology. Her love of books has given her the opportunity to work at many great independent bookstores in Minnesota, including Northern Lights, the Bookstore at Fitger’s, Wild Rumpus, and now Zenith Bookstore. Nothing satisfies her more than finding just the right book for someone. As a hiker and musician, Nikki can often be found in the woods or by a lake singing songs to her dog, The Disreputable Dog (can you guess which book that name came from?). She loves children’s and young adult literature, science fiction and fantasy. Genre aside, if you tell her about a good book, you’ll later find her tucked away reading it.
Melisa Gomez has lived in California, Arkansas, and now Minnesota. She moved with her husband to Duluth from Fayetteville, AR with their kiddos in March 2018. Since then she participated in the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon (hoping to make it a tradition) and hiked the Superior Hiking Trail. Two out of three kiddos play for Piedmont Hockey (Go Panthers!). Her educational background is in Anthropology and English. "Working at Zenith Bookstore," she says, "allows me to connect with the diverse community of Duluth. My love for books comes from my father who spent his time from work taking my siblings and I to libraries in Los Angeles. From an early age, I was taught that a library card was like your driver's license, something you could not live without. Since then I have come to believe that every book has a home and every person needs a book. Besides reading, my interest include social justice, understanding neurodiversity, and the spread of cultural awareness through artistic expression."
Aprill Emig has several years experience in events planning. Sheis new to bookselling, but could reasonably count her book shopping and browsing as a full time job (and possibly considered adding this to her resume when applying to Zenith Bookstore). When she’s not reading, she’s writing. Her work has appeared in local publications and The Nation. When not busy with that, she’s probably at roller derby practice or ballet (her derby name is Battlerina, naturally). Aprill graduated with degrees in women’s studies and philosophy, so you’ll find her hovering by the feminist books - but she’ll read anything, especially if it’s funny. Her goal is to complete the Rory Gilmore reading challenge, but she keeps getting distracted by new books. She’s excited to share her passion for reading with the Zenith community.
John McCormick has over eight years of experience selling books at independent bookstores in Duluth, having worked at both Northern Lights and the Bookstore at Fitger's. When not selling books, he's teaching College Writing courses, working with the Spirit Lake Poetry Series, watching Netflix, going for hikes, or sitting down to work on his own writing projects (mainly poetry). He is particularly fond of fiction, fantasy, poetry and graphic novels, but also often finds himself engrossed in a book exploring some overlooked facet of society. He enjoys seeing how people explore the world through language!
Beth Burnett is still fairly new to the Duluth area and is loving the adventures this area provides! She considers herself a lifelong lover of literature and has three years of bookstore experience, previously working at Books Revisited in St. Cloud, MN. She also worked at the campus library while attending school. Currently, Beth is a full-time Language Arts teacher in the area. Her passions in reading include fiction, classical literature, science fiction, YA, Native American history and storytelling, and a variety of other topics. In life, Beth thrives off the knowledge and stories of others and outdoor adventures.
318 Central Ave North Duluth MN 55807 USA