Chapel Hill, Redux

Just down the road from the UNC's Bull's Head Bookshop in Chapel Hill is the town's newest independent bookstore, Flyleaf Books. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, like the recently opened Parnassus Books in Nashville, intelligent, wise and very attractive human beings continue to open bookshops all across the country. And some of the best are right here in the South.

Here's the story:
In the fall of 2008, a neighborhood developer contacted three well-established local independent bookstores, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, the Regulator Bookshop in Durham and McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro, and asked each if they would be interested in opening a second location in his Chapel Hill shopping center.
All three bookstores declined the invitation, as it was the height of the recession and bricks-and-mortar bookstores were having to cope with the e-book and online sales challenges of the day. However, local book-selling veterans and friends Jamie Fiocco and Land Arnold had each been considering opening a store of their own, unbeknownst to each other. A casual comment one day turned into serious discussions, and later another forward-thinking soul, Sarah Carr, was invited to join this A-Team of bookselling. Eventually Flyleaf Books opened its doors on November 16th, 2009.

Here are some interior shots of their main sales floor, with its cool open-design concept.

The children's room,

and samples of their face-out display tables.

A fabulous skyline showcases titles with a city theme.

 Flyleaf does a lot of great in-store events, and Jamie told me that once they had a customer show up exactly one year late for an author's reading. It was the store's second year in business, and it was at that point she realized they needed to start adding the year to their day/month event postings. Fortunately they had one signed hardcover left over, and the grateful customer bought it. (The book was John Casey's Compass Rose.)

At another event, the store had an author speaking on a panel who was introduced with a glowing description of his  soon to be released novel. His mom was in the audience and she didn't know anything about it. Turns out the novel was highly autobiographical, and he hadn't yet known how to tell her he’d written intimately about the family.
He slipped out early that night.

Here are brief bio's of our brave pioneers: 

Jamie Fiocco, the General Manager & Events Coordinator, has worked in publishing for 15 years, as a publisher’s representative (an honorable profession indeed), an international sales manager and finally as manager of McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro, NC. She is the current President of SIBA, the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, and serves on the Booksellers Advisory Council of the American Booksellers Association.

Sarah Carr is the Children's Book Buyer and has twenty years of experience working and managing bookstores and libraries, also including a stint as manager of McIntyre’s Books. She currently serves on the board of Book Harvest, a central NC organization which helps connect children with books. 

Land Arnold is the Adult Book Buyer & Used Books Manager,and he also has extensive experience as a seller of books both new and used in Austin, TX as well as in North Carolina.

Below, from left to right, in what the staff good naturedly call an "awkward family photo", are Linnie Green, who is a successful local author herself, Land Arnold, Jamie Fiocco, trailblazing employee Michael Webb and Sarah Carr. I think they're crazy, I think it's a great shot of the Flyleaf Family!

And finally Jamie's answer to my on going time travel question:

If you could go back in time, from before recorded history to as recently as last week, for one month, be completely safe (if you wanted to be) live comfortably (also if you wanted to), meet anyone, whether famous or not, and really get to understand that time and those people, where would you go:
The American West
When would you go:

In the late 1800’s, around or after the Civil War 
Who would you want to meet:
Laura Ingalls Wilder
AND most importantly, why do you think you chose your answer: 
As a kid, I loved the Little House on the Prairie books, and I’m still fascinated by the idea of being totally self-sufficient. I’d also like to live on a working farm and live in a time when horses were an important part of life. (I grew up on a horse farm but always wanted the Prairie and the cows as well.)

Thanks Jamie, I have no doubt Laura would want to meet you too!


Popular Posts