The Reader’s Corner, a much-loved used-book store on Montford Avenue in Asheville, has closed its doors. Its owners are looking to sell.
Gillian Coats attended Warren Wilson College and worked at Downtown Books & News before deciding to try her hand at running her own strore. Her parents, who have owned and operated Reader’s Corner in Raleigh for years, went into business with her, and the store was born at 31 Montford Ave. Also known as the preferred hang-out of Crumpet the cat, the business closed its doors last weekend.
In a recent interview, Coats said she “really loved running the store,” but the demands began taking a toll. “To make a used-book store really successful in this day and age, you have to sell books online. You have to market yourself and brand yourself. You have to have coffee and events and snacks. It wasn’t something I, as a small-business person, had the time to do.”
Coats also fell in love with another medium — radio and audio production. She helped start Asheville’s low-power FM station, WPVM, and works on podcast production through New Mediacast Productions in Asheville.
Despite the power and allure of all things online, Coats adamantly maintains that local businesses hold the real power of community.
“I think in this era where everybody is heading toward the Internet, we shouldn’t forget the businesses that exist are about community. Not the virtual community, but the people that live next door to you and down the street, and a book store is an important part of that,” Coats said.
Coats leased the building housing the Reader’s Corner, which has about 20,000 used books, CDs and records, as well as DVDs and audio books. Anyone interested in taking over the store should contact Irv Coats at (919) 828-7024.
Coats said she hopes the book store will remain, and she said there’s one other bonus to owning your own business.
“Just from owning a small business in Asheville, you can become a minor celebrity.”
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor