Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Country Bookshop - Southern Pines, NC

The Country Bookshop - Southern Pines, NC
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Have you heard the expression, "even a blind hog finds an acorn sometimes?"  That saying fits me perfectly for this visit.  I was the hog and The Country Bookshop was the acorn.  And oh, what an acorn I found!  When I set-up my tours I try to do enough research to take in as many of the indies I can in the region I'm visiting.  This one slid under my radar but Keebe and Sarah at McIntyre's Books in Pittsboro tipped me off.  They said it was a great bookstore and Kimberly D., the owner, was a really nice person. They understated it on both counts.  I found out about it and visited all in the same day.  Thank goodness I did because this is a good one and it needs to be on everyone's radar.

There's no reason I should've missed this one because it's been around for 62 years.  That puts it in elite company with just a handful of indies around the country.  Kimberly is the 4th ownership of a business that began with a couple of women offering books in a living room.  She's in her 5th year of the business and is now beginning to see some good growth for the store.  When I asked her the secret for success and longevity she gave me an answer I've never heard but makes so much sense for long-running indies.  She said the store has had good stewards, a nice tribute to the founders and previous owners.

The store is a large, one-level space that includes a good assortment of books and a nice balance of sidelines.  Currently, they're really investing in their greeting cards and offer a wide variety of individual cards and boxed sets.  A third of the store is devoted to a growing children's section.  This area of the business continues to improve thanks to the store's partnership with all the elementary schools in the county and some of the secondary schools.  The Country Bookshop brings author events to all of these schools which really generates good visibility for the store.  They also are involved with 75 book groups and have a weekly story time, all great ways to bring people in.  They have a nice area in the store to host author events and are fortunate to have many New York Times best-selling authors appear here.  After 62 years, the customer base is largely local but they do attract tourists; visitors who come to nearby Pinehurst for golfing vacations or to see major tournaments; and military families from Ft. Bragg.

Kimberly, along with Damita and Amy, two of the booksellers couldn't have been nicer.  All three of them were enthusiastic and very welcoming during my visit.  I worry though that if I didn't know about this place, there may be others.  So as clearly as I can state it, this is one terrific indie, it needs to be patronized, and more people need to know about it.  I consider it a hidden gem but I want that to change.  Visit this place and take a friend.  It measures up to the best.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  Guests On Earth, Lee Smith.

A wonderful outdoor patio area just outside the front entrance.  

Looking into the store from the front entrance.  

Looking to the left from the front entrance.  

A display of sidelines and specialty books located in the front of the store.  

A very attractive book display.  

A portion of the regional interests and authors section.  

History buffs will love this section.  

If you visit this bookstore and find yourself getting disparaging glances from strangers, I suggest you pick up a bar of soap.  

Another great view looking through the store, front to back.  

This is only a small portion of the greeting cards available.  

This is a nifty little play area in the children's section.  Pre-schoolers will love this section.  

A partial view of the children's section.  

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

Students at local schools can find a well-stocked inventory of their required readings.  

Check out what the local book clubs are reading.  

A beautiful front window display.  

This is one of the things I love about independent bookstores.  Where else can you find soap like this?!

With Kimberly, the owner at The Country Bookshop.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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