RALEIGH — Raleigh has been recognized for a lot of things, but most recently it has become known for having one of the best independent bookstores in the country. Quail Ridge Bookstore has received three awards this year. The owner says her success lies in having a good selection and even better customer service.
Quail Ridge Bookstore does business the old-fashioned way. The staff reads good books and they get to know the customer personally, and they introduce them to each other.
That is one reason the independent bookstore and its owner won the three awards this year, which is almost unheard of for a store this size. The children's section was one area recognized nationally for excellence.
Carol Moyer runs that part of the store.
"Every available moment, I read children's books," she says. "The joy really is matching the right book with the right child and so that's the real reward in the business is seeing a child respond to literature."
"I think they have some really good books, and I think this book's the best," one young customer says.
The store has 77,000 titles, and many authors drop by for signings and to chat with readers.
Last January, 2,000 people waited in line for hours to see President Jimmy Carter push his new book.
Olsen says a lot of independent owners underestimate their customer service when the chains come in, and she says that is a big mistake. Olsen's business philosophy came from, of all places, a book, "In Search of Excellence." She hasn't forgotten the moral of the story, even if it means sacrificing money.
"We have tremendous sales here, "but I don't make a lot of profit because it costs so much to do business in this way," Olson says.
Sales at the Quail Ridge Bookstore have grown in the double digits almost every year of the 16 they have been open.
The store also hosts a lot of fund-raising events, and they have a regular discussion of children's literature. They also offer a kids book clubs and teachers also get a sizeable discount as well.