Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Flyleaf Books - Chapel Hill, NC

Flyleaf Books - Chapel Hill, NC
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Independent bookstore owners are amazing people.  They are able to work bookstore magic by literally turning any previous business or structure into a bookstore.  I've seen it all over the country with places like churches, schools, theaters, old houses and mansions, and auto garages that all have been shaped into new lives as bookstores.  And now I've seen a gym/fitness center changed into a spacious, beautiful bookstore.  The room with the wooden floor that was the aerobics room is now home to the used books and the events hall.  The only workouts in this space are the heavy lifting of new books out of their boxes.

Flyleaf Books has been here for 6 years now and has seen steady business growth each year, a great sign at this indie.  That growth is thanks to a strong local customer base and a culture in the community that values education, reading, and books.  It also helps that there are several universities in close proximity, many of which offer MFA programs in creative writing, literature, and similarly related subjects.  That would partially explain the high concentration of bookstores in the triangle region of North Carolina (Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill).

Jamie F., the owner along with her husband, told me the inspiration for her store was Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL.  You can see that with the beautiful dark brown shelves around the store as well as the lighting and table displays.  Their space allows many of the books to be displayed face out which I always enjoy seeing.  This really helps sell the books and makes browsing even easier.  The store has a good variety of sidelines, many of them quite unique.  Erica E. has done a nice job of this.  Flyleaf is also very active with events, held on-site but with the option of larger venues off-site if needed.  You'll also find a nice selection of used books.  They're particular about the books they take but customers will receive store credit for the books they bring in.  There are several places around the store to sit and read and you don't have to worry about your time because the parking is free in the lot outside of the store.  

The staff I talked to including Jamie, Lane J., Erica, and Banshion S. were fantastic and so patient to talk with me during my visit.  Naturally, I received more book suggestions than I know what to do with.  Lane shared with me what might be one of my favorite things about Flyleaf.  The showers from the gym are still here so go ahead and take that run at lunch time.  Return to the bookstore, take a shower so as not to offend customers or co-workers, and then spend the rest of the day selling books.  Maybe Flyleaf Books should consider renting bedrooms?!

There's a reason this indie is one of many featured in Ron Rice's, My Bookstore.  You need to visit for yourself and find out why.  You won't be disappointed.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Andy & Don, Daniel de Visé.  Newly released bio of Andy Griffith and Don Knotts.  It's also a bio of "The Andy Taylor Show."  I absolutely loved this book because I'm a big Mayberry fan.  If you loved that show with Andy and Barney, you'll thoroughly enjoy this book.  Highly recommended.

CURRENTLY READING:  Lore, Rachel Seiffert.   

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Night Train, Clyde Edgerton.  

The shopping begins before even entering the store.  

Looking straight through the store from the front entrance.  

Looking to the left from the front entrance.  I don't know if the picture can truly convey how much space they have here.  

Lots of sidelines here and for those of us who step on, sit on, and otherwise mangle reading glasses, this is a welcome display.  

A few of the greeting cards available, right inside the entrance.  

A nice display of various sidelines.  

There are several attractive table displays in the store.  

Here are a few of the events you missed in October.  Don't worry, you'll always have lots of events to pick from in the future.  

Another nice view of the store.  

This store has a very comfortable atmosphere and these chairs make it easy to sit and read.  

If you can't find a book on one of the table displays, take a look on the shelves that line the walls.  

A few of the staff recommendations.  

Notice the wooden floor in the used book room.  This was a group exercise room in its former life.  

Another view of the same room.  Notice the wheels under the bookshelves.  This room is easily converted into a large events room, most of which stretches beyond the bookshelves to the right.  

A portion of the children's section.  

View looking from the back of the bookstore toward the front entrance.  

Another view of the events space from the front of the room.  Toward the back of this room are the used books.  

Here are the rock stars at Flyleaf.  From L-R, the groupie, Jamie, Lane, Erica, and Banshion.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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