Founder's retirement means new chapter for Quail Ridge Books

Posted November 14, 2012
Updated November 16, 2012

Longtime owner Nancy Olson plans to sell her popular independent Raleigh bookstore, Quail Ridge Books & Music, and retire.

— Popular independent bookstore Quail Ridge Books & Music is for sale, as owner Nancy Olson seeks to retire and spend more time with her husband, family and friends.

Quail Ridge celebrated its 28th birthday Wednesday, the day after Olson told her staff of her decision.

“Of course, I will have a lot more time to read without the responsibility of running the store. I’ll always be Quail Ridge’s No. 1 customer. I still expect a discount,” she said with a laugh.

She said she is committed to finding the right match with a new owner, someone who is as much an avid reader and book lover as she is, and she is prepared to serve as an adviser to ensure a smooth transition.

“The key ingredients are all in place: a loyal customer base, a dedicated, hard-working staff and a stellar reputation with the publishing community,” she said.

Located in the Ridgewood Shopping Center on Wade Avenue in west Raleigh, Quail Ridge had about $3 million in sales last year and stocks about 70,000 titles. Its staff of 24 full- and part-time people averages 15 years of experience selling books.

The store has a dedicated following among Triangle bibliophiles.

Nancy Olson, Quail Ridge Books owner Bookstore owner seeking buyer who's an avid reader

"It's a pleasure. I love coming here," said Lynn Dohner, who drove from Pittsboro on Wednesday to browse.

Like other customers, Dohner said she was shocked about the impending change of ownership.

"I just hope that whoever buys this keeps it as it is. This is truly a treasure," she said.

Olson said she hopes ownership is the only change at Quail Ridge after she leaves.

"I think it would be very wise of (the new owner) to continue what we've done because we've been so successful. So, that's what my wish is," she said.

She opened Quail Ridge because she couldn't find a bookstore she liked when she moved to Raleigh. The store has nurtured scores of North Carolina writers, including Lee Smith, Kaye Gibbons and Jill McCorkle, and attracted celebrities such as former President Jimmy Carter and radio host Garrison Keillor for book readings and signings.

"Her idea was to have a place that was really locally oriented but had the best national and local fiction, nonfiction – just really good books," said Sarah Goddin, the store's general manager. "We just really enjoy talking books between the staff and the customers."

The store was named Publishers Weekly Bookseller of the Year in 2001, and it also has won the Pannell Award for Excellence in Children’s Bookselling and the Haslam Award for Excellence in Bookselling.


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  • caniac315 Nov 15, 2012

    Yes David, indeed they do travel the world. I love we have this bookstore in Raleigh, and I hope the new owners will concentrate more on paying their associates a living wage instead of keeping the runways hot at RDU.

  • Pepe Silvia Nov 15, 2012

    "Obama's economy claims one more." Womble_Fred

    She is RETIRING and wants to sell the store to someone with the same vision, not shutting down the store because it isn't doing well. Don't blame this on Obama.

    I hope the new ownership continues to keep Quail Ridge as it is, its a great little bookshop!

  • Scubagirl Nov 15, 2012

    Why would anyone doubt the truthfulness of the owner?

    that's NOT what folks are doubting.....

  • sixstringn Nov 15, 2012

    Questioning the stated QRB annual sales figure is puzzling to me. Why would anyone doubt the truthfulness of the owner?

  • Scubagirl Nov 15, 2012

    hahahaha WRAL just NOT going to let my post pass blaming their lack of editing on the 3 million vs 300K.......Truth Hurts?!?!?!

  • kirkadamgallery Nov 15, 2012

    The video states 3 million in sales overall.....text say 3 million in sales last year.

  • ccsmith1902 Nov 14, 2012

    womble_fred: You should call Mrs. Olsen and ask her why she is retiring, instead of your extreme long shot, and I mean extreme, of trying to blame a retirement on Obama? Man, this is off the charts, folks.

  • Scubagirl Nov 14, 2012

    "Obama's economy claims one more.Womble_Fred"

    get over yourself!!! this has not got the first thing to do with Obama but that's OK, your poutyness is showing.

  • Scubagirl Nov 14, 2012

    Congrats to her on her pending retirement. Hopefully the buyer will keep it as it is-big loss to the neighborhood. :(

  • chrisnrali Nov 14, 2012

    they need to try their math again, her claim of 3 million a year in sales last year is just a little unbelievable for a local bookstore unless there is allot of online sales. That's around 9600k in sales each day of the year not counting sundays to get anywhere near 3 million in sales. let's be a little realistic. I think she's been reading too many of her own books and has lost touch with reality or likes to boast lies on her way out. 300k would've been more believable.