Just days after opening One More
Page Books & More in Arlington, Va., last month, owner Eileen McGervey had
a pleasant surprise when she arrived at work one morning--eager Sunday shoppers
waiting outside the store. "People in Arlington really are behind local
business. They appreciate that if they want it to be there they have to support
it," said McGervey.
Residents in this Washington, D.C.,
suburb had to wait longer than anticipated to browse the shelves at their neighborhood
bookshop. Two previous openings, scheduled for late November and mid-December, were
cancelled due to delays in the inspection and permitting process.
Not having a storefront didn't
derail the three author events McGervey had lined up to take place the week
before Christmas. Ellen Crosby (Viognier
Vendetta: A Wine Country Mystery), Richard Thompson (Shapes and Colors: A Cul de Sac Collection) and Richard Gazala (Blood of the Moon) signed books and
greeted guests in a party space next door to One More Page.
The nearly 1,500-sq.-ft. general-interest bookstore is situated on the ground floor of a condominium building,
along with a salon and other retailers. A children's bookstore, Aladdin's Lamp,
was located across the street until it closed last
summer. McGervey hired three booksellers who worked there.
One More Page has been in the making
since early 2009, when McGervey--then a marketing consultant in the high-tech
industry--began considering the possibility of opening a bookstore. She attended
a Paz & Associates bookseller training session "to get a better understanding
of what's involved. Once I did that I felt like I at least had a foundation,"
McGervey decided to proceed with
the endeavor, working as a consultant through the fall and then devoting her
time to readying One More Page. "Once you make the commitment and put it
out there, it takes on a life of its own," she said. She reached out to
the proprietors of renowned D.C. bookstore Politics and Prose, Barbara Meade
and the late Carla Cohen, for advice and guidance. "They were wonderfully
supportive and gracious," said McGervey.
One of the first sections customers
see when they walk into One More Page is what McGervey has dubbed the "decadent
corner." Displayed along with travel narratives,
cookbooks, sports books, art tomes and other titles are edible indulgences--wine
and chocolates. "It cuts right to the chase," she joked.
The store carries a sizable wine selection, primarily from lesser-known California
and international vineyards, all of which have been sampled and selected by
McGervey and her staff. "We were laughing about the fact that we have to
be able to handsell the wines just like we do the books, so we must be familiar
with them," she said. Customers seem to like their suggestions. Since
opening, the store has done a brisk business in wine sales.
Other fare sold at the store
includes cheese, crackers, nuts, jams and teas. "There are a lot of rules
surrounding the sale of alcohol. For the kind of license I have, I need to sell
a certain amount of food," noted McGervey, who was required to take a food
safety class to pass inspection.
After wine, the store's main
sidelines are Paperblanks journals and chocolates. The confection selections
range from traditional varieties to exotic flavors like bacon and come from chocolate
makers in the U.S., Switzerland, Belgium, Ghana and Venezuela.
A more unusual item on hand is
Grandma's Catsup, made by Henry's Sauce & Condiment Company in Bozeman,
Mont. The catsup, served at Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington and a favorite with
the eatery's clientele (who include President Obama and Vice President Biden),
is not widely available at retail outlets in the area. "I've already had
someone come in just to get the ketchup," said McGervey.
Wine tasting and a "galley giveaway" will be part
of the revelry at a soirée this Thursday evening, the start of a three-day
grand opening celebration. Attendees can select advance reading copies and,
after they have read the book, share their opinion on whether or not they think
it should be stocked at the store.
On Saturday, One More Page is hosting Ellen Byerrum, who
will sign copies of Shot Through Velvet:
A Crime of Fashion Mystery. Saturday's line-up includes several local
children's authors appearing in the afternoon, followed by a wine, champagne
and chocolate tasting to wrap up the festivities.
A book prominently featured at the front of the store is You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan
Fallon, along with reviews of the story collection from the Washington Post and O magazine--the latter of which was written by Arlington
resident and journalist Bethanne Patrick. Eleanor Brown's novel
The Weird Sisters, displayed on the
fiction table, is a favorite with One More Page staff as well as with local
blogger Jenn Lawrence of Jenn's
Bookshelves. "There are so many great book bloggers and
reviewers in our area," McGervey said. "We want to start getting
people familiar with their picks."
Highlighted in the children's section are suggestions by
12-year-old Jess and nine-year-old Lily, who are the daughters of McGervey's
friend and cousin, respectively. The young bibliophiles have been enthusiastic supporters
of the store, even helping out by making bookmarks and mopping floors. Lily recommends
Jon Scieszka's Spaceheadz, while one
of Jess's choices is Suzanne Collins's Mockingjay.
When McGervey--whose first job was
working in a bookmobile during high school--was contemplating opening a bookstore, she attended the ABA's Winter Institute and other industry
conferences to learn more about what the profession entails. In her previous
job, she often advised clients that "theory doesn't equal reality,"
she said. "What people tell you about how something works is not generally
how it really works. It's best to talk to those who actually do it."
How does theory compare with
reality for McGervey in her new role? Keeping up with back-office tasks is more
time-consuming and demanding than she envisioned. On the other hand, "It
has been more fun than I would have thought with people coming in and talking
to them about books," she said. "They say the store is beautiful and
that they're happy we're here. Not that I didn't think people would love the
store, but it's your dream and you hope others will embrace it, too. We look
forward to being around for a long time."--Shannon McKenna Schmidt
One More Page Books & More is
located at 2200 N. Westmoreland St., #101, Arlington, Va. 22213; 703-300-9746; www.onemorepagebooks.com;