Local Profiles by
There are stores that add to the charm and community life of a small town. For example, try to imagine Boone without Mast General Store.
Here in Wake Forest, The Storyteller’s Book Store has been a similar boon to the town and surrounding communities since 2008.
Lauren Bridges writes about her husband and storeowner Drew on the store’s Facebook page: “Running the bookstore for Drew was much more than just selling books. It was about giving out donations to charitable organizations, school fundraisers, church events and other local community organizations. Drew has been an active supporter of the Wake Forest arts events (Six Sundays in Spring, Annual Storytellers Festival and Christmas Home Tour). My husband has always been enthusiastic about giving back and improving the community around us.”
At 69, Drew Bridges is ready to retire. He is passing the torch for running the bookstore on to Suzanne and Dave Lucey.
On July 1, the community bookstore openned with new ownership and a new name: Page 158 Books.
The Luceys share the same commitment the Bridges have to being an integral part of what makes Wake Forest a special community to live in.
Connecting writers to readers
Suzanne is a woman who enjoys introducing readers to authors. A little more than a year ago, she approached the management of the Renaissance Centre about having an annual literary fair. Instead, she was given the opportunity to facilitate a monthly local writers’ forum that came to be called Writer’s Night in the Forest.
While living in Massachusetts, Suzanne hosted a regional community television show called Books and Authors, which featured interviews with nationally known authors such as Barbara Delinsky and Tom Bailey.
Suzanne loves interviewing writers and seeing how their minds work. She finds people that can use words to take readers to different places fascinating. She jumped at the opportunity to facilitate Writer’s Night In The Forest. Under her management the monthly forum has grown into a well-attended community event area writers are glad to be a part of.
One day in April, Suzanne went into Storyteller’s Book Store to coordinate an author meeting for an upcoming Writer’s Night In The Forest and mentioned to Bridges that she would love to own a bookstore someday.
A few days later, Bridges called her and said he had decided to retire and asked if she would be interested in buying the bookstore.
“Dave!” she exclaimed to her husband, “Can you believe this?!” To his credit, Dave could. He is a man who understands the need to follow one’s passions.
Dave has a passion for genealogical research and for history. He is a member of the Wake Forest Cemetery Advisory Board. His passion for genealogical research has led Dave and Suzanne to take several trips to Ireland as Dave traces his family tree.
He has used DNA testing, a cutting edge tool for genealogical researchers, to find family members. One cousin, for example, turned out not to be a blood relative.
Buying the bookstore felt right to both of them. The Luceys are thankful to Drew and Lauren Bridges for making the transition seamless. Drew has mentored the couple in how to succeed in an ever-evolving business.
Dave and Suzanne share a love for books. Like the Bridges, they understand that a shared love among neighbors is a way to strengthen community ties.
They plan to continue hosting the book clubs that currently call the bookstore home and to expand the number and types of reader groups the store will host.
Suzanne plans a newcomers group and groups for different genres such as young adults or historical fiction.
Dave enjoys science and math books. John Allen Paulos is among his favorite authors. If you are interested in a science/math reading group let him know.
The Luceys are also planning classes and seminars and are looking for local input as to what people would like to see available at Page 158 Books.
Suzanne has posted information about Alice Osborn’s Memoir Writing Workshop scheduled for Aug. 2 on the Page 158 Books Facebook page.
They also plan to expand the books genres offered at the store and again are seeking reader input. They plan to offer a customer loyalty program and discounts for teachers, seniors and military.
I mentioned maybe having a knitting group meet on the premises. Suzanne is open to Page 158 Books being a place that fosters community among people with creative interests.
Welcomed to the neighborhood
When asked about the challenges facing independent booksellers from eBooks, big box stores and online retailers, Suzanne said she was aware of the challenges, but Dave didn’t think those alternate sellers will be a problem.
He pointed out that Bridges had already built the bookstore into a viable business, and that traditionally, community support for local businesses in Wake Forest is strong. Also, the Wake Forest merchant community is welcoming to new merchants.
The Luceys are looking forward to participating in more Art After Hours, Meets In The Street and other merchant outreach events.
July 1 was the soft opening of Page158 Books as Suzanne and Dave get their feet wet as storeowners. The Luceys are planning a grand opening celebration in October.
For more information on Page 158 Books, you can like them on Facebook, follow on Twitter @Pages158Books or even better, stop in at 158 South White Street.