I live near Raleigh's North Hills. I'm there a lot. And, for me, there was always one big hole: a bookstore.
So I was thrilled when I saw North Hills Bookery open there last fall. And I was even happier about the development when I walked into the store and found a variety of books for kids, but also a great selection of educational toys, games and puzzles.
Curt and Debbie Finch moved their 23-year-old business from Emerald Isle on the North Carolina coast to North Hills in October. The couple, with kids and grandkids, grew up in Raleigh and have family here.
It's not a huge store, but it still has a great selection. About 30 percent of the store's inventory are books for youth and children, including classics and new releases. Debbie Finch was really helpful as I looked for books that are appropriate for my first grader, an advanced reader. Toys make up another 15 percent of the store, including everything from stuffed animals and games to crafts and activity books.
At the beach, the store was known for its collection of jigsaw puzzles, a popular pastime on rainy beach days. The Finches brought their collection to North Hills. You'll find an entire wall covered with all kinds of puzzles.
I think I've found a new favorite place to buy birthday presents.
And the Finches have begun to add regular events, including a lively story time for kids ages 3 to 7 a couple of times a month. When I took my kids two weeks ago, Suzanne, who led the program, read several books, brought along some puppets and gave away some handmade finger puppets. Both my two-year-old (they won't kick your kid out if she isn't 3 to 7) and my six-year-old loved it.
The next story time is 10 a.m., Saturday. It's free. No registration required. The Finches also are adding readings, featuring North Carolina authors, and have started a book club for adults.
Find North Hills Bookery at 4321- 105 Lassiter at North Hills in Raleigh. It's three doors down from McAlister's Deli.