Two bookstores—one in the Washington, D.C. area, the other in Greater Boston—are slated to open within the next few weeks. Eileen McGervey had originally planned to have One More Page up and running earlier this year, but after real estate negotiations fell through six months ago, she settled on a different location in Arlington, Va. The 1,500-sq. ft. store will now be in a more walkable part of the community, closer to the East Falls Church Metro station.
The changed timing, which saw the closing of Alina Gawlik’s Aladdin’s Lamp Children’s Bookstore in June, also gave McGervey a chance to rebalance the store’s inventory mix. “Originally I wasn’t going to focus on children’s books. I didn’t want to encroach on Alina’s business. It made me go back and relook,” said McGervey. She is now planning to stock 60% adult books, 40% children’s and has even added a kids writing group to be run by the same person who ran one at Aladdin’s.
McGervey has been an active blogger at onemorepageblogspot.com, and will work with IndieBound to create an e-commerce Web site. Books aren’t all that McGervey, a refugee from the high-tech industry whose first job was shelving books in a bookmobile, plans to retail. She just received her food service manager card in preparation for selling cheese, chocolate, coffee, and wine. Her liquor license is still waiting to be approved. She stresses though that the store will be a bookstore and roughly 90% of the inventory will be books. “As a business person that’s going to be something I keep an eye on,” said McGervey, who chose her favorite foods as a way to get people in the neighborhood to stop in more often. She is planning to stock local food and even feature artwork by local artists.
Now that her youngest child is in high school, former stay-at-home mom Leisa Ginsburg is opening A Novel Café in a 2,500-sq. ft. building dating from 1740 in Tewksbury, Mass. “This is my retirement,” said Ginsburg. “I love books and coffee.” The store, which is divided into four rooms, also has a coffeeshop where Ginsburg plans to carry sidelines and magazines. Although Ginsburg may be new to book bookselling, she is not new to book buying and decided on the location after getting frustrated that the closest bookstores are a half hour or 45 minutes away. So far she said that she’s gotten nothing but positive feedback from the community. The store’s Web site, anovelcafesite.com, is also in development.
Ginsburg’s husband, Marc Ginsburg, is a real estate developer, and the couple invested over a $1 million restoring the historic Hardy-Pike House, where the bookstore is located. But Ginsburg isn’t expecting to recoup the money anytime soon. As for McGervey, she says that when she talked with advisors at SCORE about the store, they looked uncomfortable. That was before she told them that that she wasn’t expecting to earn what she had previously.