Tryon book store welcomes new owner and manager

Published 12:29 pm Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What happens when you combine three bibliophiles, a 58-year-old bookstore in a small Carolina Foothills town of readers, and a tradition of providing for customers any and everything they may want to read? Add into the mix some outside experience, a commitment to making everyone welcome, a cup of coffee, and a quiet place to read to a child, and you have The Book Shelf. &bsp;

“We put out the word that The Book Shelf was for sale back in early May,” says Betsy Goree, owner of the bookstore since January of 2002. “I have family obligations that made it necessary for me to look for a new owner, so we started the search with our customers. Word was sent out on the stores Friends of The Book Shelf email list, and Penny contacted me within days of that email going out. We hit it off immediately, and our plans have progressed to the point that the sale should be finalized Thursday, July 1.”

Goree is referring to new owner of the business, Penny Padgett, who describes herself as being “very excited about this venture. As a lifelong bibliophile, owning The Book Shelf is an opportunity for me to share my love of books with others. I grew up in Mill Spring and plan to retire there in the future.”

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Padgetts career has taken her to university campuses in Pennsylvania, and, currently, to Chapel Hill.

Until Padgett relocates and takes on the business full-time, The Book Shelf will have as manager Stacey Stafford, lifelong Polk County resident, and a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill. She is the former communications coordinator for Polk County Schools.

“Stacey has met or already knows many of our customers. She cares about people and about books, and that comes through when you talk to her. She and Penny understand the relationship between The Book Shelf and our customers as well as the relationship between the bookstore and the extended community which was my greatest hope for a new owner when I put the business up for sale. The transition is going smoothly and I feel satisfied that I am leaving the bookstore in excellent hands.”

Looking back at her time at The Book Shelf, Goree credits Wanda May with teaching her the business. “I learned from the best,” she says.

“During the last few weeks, I have been making a list of things I will miss,” she admits. “I will miss seeing the customers on a daily basis, helping the kids find something special to read, and wrapping Christmas presents on a massive scale. I have enjoyed all the author events, especially ones for our local authors. Theres just no place like the bookstore, on any given day. You never know who you might run into here.”

The Friends of The Book Shelf invite the community to join them for a celebration welcoming Penny Padgett as new owner, Stacey Stafford as new manager, and honoring Betsy Goree as she begins a new chapter in her life on Thursday, July 1, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The event will be held at The Book Shelf, 90 Pacolet Street, across from Tryon post office. Everyone is invited and welcome to attend this event.