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Avonlea Bookstore welcomes new owner

Nancy Quinn, long-time Summerside resident and avid book nerd, has made her life-long dream come true after purchasing Avonlea Books in Downtown Summerside. The popular used bookstore will be renamed Seaside Books.
Nancy Quinn, long-time Summerside resident and avid book nerd, has made her life-long dream come true after purchasing Avonlea Bookstore in Downtown Summerside. The popular used bookstore will be renamed Seaside Books. - Millicent McKay

Nancy Quinn, avid book lover, bought the used book store recently from Richard Kays

SUMMERSIDE – A business staple in the Summerside community is under new ownership.

Avonlea Bookstore, owned by Richard Kays for 21 years (since 1997) recently sold the used book business to former city employee, business woman and current city council candidate Nancy Quinn.

Quinn takes possession of the store on Sept. 1.

In March, she went into the popular book store to chat with Kays.

“[The way I remember it] Nancy came into the store, plunked herself down on a box and said, ‘Want to sell me your store?’” he said with a chuckle.

“I hadn’t thought about selling, but I’m never one to turn down a good offer. So, I told her to keep going.”

After months of chatter the pair came to a decision, Quinn would purchase the store and rename is Seaside Books. 

Used books at Avonlea Bookstore soon to be called Seaside Books.
Used books at Avonlea Bookstore soon to be called Seaside Books.

Quinn says the first time she approached Kays about purchasing the store was at least nine years ago.

“I’m so lucky to be able to live my dream of selling books by the sea. And while he sold me his store he passed along his pearls of book selling wisdom along the way,” Quinn said.

Quinn says the landlord has agreed to replace the storefront windows as well as the front door.

She plans to paint the stores interiors white, including the shelves.

“The books should really stand out. They should be the characters of this place.”

Quinn also plans to turn the stores delivery door at the back of the shop to another entrance for walkers, cyclists, trail/boardwalk goers and farmers’ market shoppers.

She says she plans to follow the tactics Richard used, continuing to sell used books until she feels she understand the very niche market.

“Book selling is a trade in itself.”

Quinn, a huge “Harry Potter” fan is looking forward to turning one store feature into an homage to the series.

“I’m going to have a literal cupboard under the stairs. I’m really excited about that. I also plan to launch a ‘Harry Potter’ book club.”

But she doesn’t plan on stopping there.

“I want people to share their ideas for what they’d like to see. Maybe there will be a murder-mystery club or a ‘Lord of the Rings’ club.”

Quinn also wants to establish sections for genres that are under or not represented at all.

“I’ve noticed there isn’t a lot of LGBTQ+ literature, both fiction and non-fiction. I’d love to see that genre make its presence.”

She says her father took her to book stores all the time when she was little.

“He was a frugal man, so it was really nice of him to spend that money on new books for me. So, I feel really fortunate.”

Kays says he feels he’s leaving the store in good hands.

“I only think she can help the business. She’ll grow it. But the first thing I told her is, she’s not going to get rich selling books.”

Quinn says she has no issue with that as long as she can pass on a love of reading.

AVONLEA BOOKSTORE HOURS:

Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Saturdays: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Sundays: 12 to 5 p.m. 

Millicent.mckay@journalpioneer.com

Twitter: @JPMillicentMcK

Instagram: @millicentleemckay

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