A conversation with the operators of Flyleaf Books, a new bookstore in Chapel Hill | Reading | Indy Week
Pin It

A conversation with the operators of Flyleaf Books, a new bookstore in Chapel Hill 

In 1998, Chapel Hill lost the Original Intimate Bookshop, the city's flagship independent bookstore. Since then, the Bull's Head Bookshop has been the closest thing to a prominent, nonchain store for new books, but its location on the UNC campus and the lack of parking space makes it hard to access for the casual book buyer or browser.

Consequently, location is everything to Flyleaf Books, which opened up its doors on a recent Saturday morning for a tour of the still-under-construction, 5,200-square-foot space. Situated in the Midtown Market shopping center, Flyleaf Books anticipates drawing customers from such well-established neighboring businesses as Foster's and the Flying Burrito.

"This project came to fruition in large part because Ron Strom, the owner of the shopping center, was looking for an independent business to anchor the center, and his 18-year-old daughter Hannah suggested a bookstore," says Jamie Fiocco, general manager of the store. "At the same time this was happening, [my partners] and I were—independently—thinking of how to 'do our own thing' but still stay in the book world. The missions collided, and Flyleaf Books is the result."

The Indy spoke to the Flyleaf Books management trio—Fiocco, children's manager Sarah Carr and storefront manager Land Arnold—about the process and challenges of bringing an independent bookstore to Chapel Hill in a down economy.

Independent: Do you feel that you have a window of opportunity while the economic climate is depressed to get your store up and running, so that when things lift, you'll be ready?

Fiocco: There is some of that. I will in hindsight be curious to see how that plays out. But I think it's safe to say, for us personally, we think that this is just the right place no matter when.

Sarah Carr: Sometimes the right opportunity only comes once ... You don't want to get 10 years down the line and say, "I wish I had done that." You have to follow what you want to do.

Do you think this area can support and nurture an independent bookstore?

Carr: Certainly. We've had positive feedback just from the number of people who walk by as the construction workers are doing their thing and ask about the store and get excited about our opening.

Their enthusiasm indicates that, yes, it can.

Fiocco: We have two publishers here, Algonquin Books and UNC Press ... I just think this is a literary community ... It deserves an independent bookstore, and regardless of the economy, people understand and appreciate literature.

Is it important to have an online presence when opening a 21st-century retail store?

Land Arnold: Yes. It's about marketing and being present in a different medium that grows so quickly. I think it's important to be a part of that conversation, because that's where a lot of book talk, as well as people's interest, has gone. It's good to meet the needs of customers who shop online also.

Carr: It's important to let people know there is an alternative to the big-box bookstores online. You can support the local economy from your computer. We want you to physically come into our space, but if for some reason you just can't do it, we still want to be there for you, the reader. We'll link to all of our used inventory in the store, so a customer will get access to several options.

Fioco: Everything comes down to a personal relationship. I think any good business [that] has owners who are present and [have] a solid relationship with the community is going to do well. It's going to be up to us whether this is a success or not. It's about being present and aware of what's going on and making connections within the community.

Flyleaf's soft opening is planned for Monday, Nov. 16, with hours of operation from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Visit www.flyleaf.indiebound.com for more information.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Reading



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

Carolyn,
Liquid shampoo was invented in 1927. Shampoo was invented in 1898 as a water-soluble powder. And anyway if there …

by Constance Keptic on Pit Bulls May or May Not Be Dangerous. But Bronwen Dickey Can Attest That Writing About Them Definitely Is. (Reading)

On page 178, Dickey describes a fatal pit bull attack that Delise refuses to label as a fatal pit bull …

by Lucy Muir on Pit Bulls May or May Not Be Dangerous. But Bronwen Dickey Can Attest That Writing About Them Definitely Is. (Reading)

Bronwen Dickey says of DBO: "Dogsbite.org contradicts everything put forth by the groups most qualified to speak about animal science, …

by Lucy Muir on Pit Bulls May or May Not Be Dangerous. But Bronwen Dickey Can Attest That Writing About Them Definitely Is. (Reading)

https://www.facebook.com/james.jennings.9/videos/1040878029328341/

by Mark Adrian on Pit Bulls May or May Not Be Dangerous. But Bronwen Dickey Can Attest That Writing About Them Definitely Is. (Reading)

One of the most interesting parts of Dickey's book is the information (in Chapter 3) about breeds and genetics and …

by lxxxvc on Pit Bulls May or May Not Be Dangerous. But Bronwen Dickey Can Attest That Writing About Them Definitely Is. (Reading)

Comments

Carolyn,
Liquid shampoo was invented in 1927. Shampoo was invented in 1898 as a water-soluble powder. And anyway if there …

by Constance Keptic on Pit Bulls May or May Not Be Dangerous. But Bronwen Dickey Can Attest That Writing About Them Definitely Is. (Reading)

On page 178, Dickey describes a fatal pit bull attack that Delise refuses to label as a fatal pit bull …

by Lucy Muir on Pit Bulls May or May Not Be Dangerous. But Bronwen Dickey Can Attest That Writing About Them Definitely Is. (Reading)

Most Read

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation