Quail Ridge Books, in business for more than 30 years, has a spectacular selection of children’s books, bestsellers and music and a reader’s choice of any number of friendly staff people. Former owner Nancy Olson, the store’s founder, created Quail Ridge’s culture of quiet excellence, but the store was bought – and its atmosphere maintained – by Lisa Poole in 2013.
Now, after nearly 20 years in its Ridgewood Shopping Center location in Raleigh, Quail Ridge is moving on to North Hills shopping center. The space will be smaller, but Poole promises people will feel at home.
Normally, the relocation of a business wouldn’t warrant news stories and commentary, but Quail Ridge has become a literary institution, the last of a dying breed of independent bookstores determined to host authors of local fame and those of international fame and, sometimes, those of no fame. The store has hosted, for example, Tom Wolfe and Pat Conroy. It has had former President Jimmy Carter and former Vice President Dan Quayle. And it has had a number of local writers and musicians appearing mostly before their friends.
Much of the store’s popularity has centered on Olson, who also hired staff members and got to know customers and authors. . To Poole’s credit, she has maintained that tradition. While a change in location may be unsettling for some customers, it’s not going to uproot what the store represents. It moved once before, after all, from the original location at Quail Corners shopping center on Falls of Neuse Road. And it has thrived ever since.