Eileen McGervey is preparing for a varietal wine tasting at One More Page Books & More. Wine and chocolate make up the “More.”
She moves through the store, adjusting books on the shelves, moving chairs and tables back into place, and carefully arranging wine glasses on a table. “This is the side of bookselling they don’t tell you about,” she says with one of her un-self-conscious laughs.
Bars of gourmet chocolate neatly line a table in front of the register. Orange peel, ginger, even bacon chocolates beckon. I quickly add a few bars to the books I’ve set on the counter.
The idea to sell wine and chocolate came from a business consultant who told McGervey simply, “It’d be good to diversify.” Many customers first enter the store looking for these “sideline items,” she explains, but they stay to buy books. “It is diversifying your revenue stream,” she says, “but it also gives people more reasons to come in the store.”
She turns to a nearby customer and invites her to stay for the wine tasting, which will begin in a few minutes. The customer says, “I was surprised to see this here, actually; I wasn’t looking for wine.” She stays for the tasting, swirling wine in a glass and listening attentively to its vintners.
“The wine and chocolate are also good conversation starters,” McGervey tells me. “You get them in, and then you get to talk to them about the other things.” Like books.
Todd Kliman, author of Wild Vine, doesn’t seem surprised by the convergence of literature and fine wine. He’s here, standing next to a stack of his books; he’s attending not as a speaker but as a wine connoisseur. (I sneak up to him at the end, anyway, and ask him to sign my copy of his book.)
As customers line up to purchase wine, chocolate, and of course books, McGervey finally slows her frenetic pace. She leans against the counter, surveying the line of chatting customers, and her face relaxes into an easy smile.
Stay tuned for more Indie Thursday posts this month about One More Page Books & More, including author events at the bookstore and how the community has reacted to the new store.