Around F.C.

The Pendulum of F.C.’s Independent Bookstore

One More Page Books (OMP) brings life to the minds of readers. A lively bookshop, the independent bookstore acts as a community center, connecting people and serving as a place of discovery for those looking to broaden their reading horizons. Its shelves are lined with a broad range of books, and its staff consists of welcoming workers looking to greet customers. Known for their clever Post-Its filled with book blurbs, One More Page Books is a gem of a once-struggling bookstore. 

 Struggling financially with fixing lights, air conditioning and with plumbing maintenance, Eileen McGervey — owner of One More Page Books — recently reached out to the community for help. Her GoFundMe wrote of rising rent, being slammed with unexpected expenditures and the tiny profit margin for small businesses. Her words echoed the struggles of all small independent bookstores in a digitally dominant world. 

 What the community understood, however, was that OMP creates an experience that cannot be mimicked online. Its presence is irreplaceable and a remarkable resource to the public. A bighearted tribe, the Falls Church community responded to McGervey’s request, donating $35,000 to the bookstore’s GoFundMe within a week.

Eileen McGervey and OMP staff thank the Arlington/Falls Church community for their generous gift of $35,000.. (Photo: Eileen McGervey)

 “I was hopeful, but I thought it would take a while,” McGervey said. “But I remember in my old life, as I call it, someone telling me that you have to ask if you need help, and that’s a hard thing to do. It’s very humbling. We were all completely overwhelmed that it happened so quickly.”

 One More Page Books is a prime example of the swinging pendulum of independent bookstores. Autonomous bookstores like OMP are attempting to ascend with the growing number of people that are uncomfortable in a world devoid of connection. According to McGervey, as a small independent bookstore, OMP serves to provide book recommendations and be a place of discovery. It hosts book clubs and authors while allowing people of all different walks of life to bond over a shared interest in reading. 

 “We are a community bookstore… it’s really a place where people can come together who share this one really important thing in common: that they love to read,” said McGervey.

 McGervey created One More Page Books out of an intense love for reading. Previously working as a consultant in high tech, she ultimately decided it was worth it to try pursuing her passion for books. Despite working with a tight budget, introducing the community to this place of discovery proved to have been beneficial for McGervey.  

 “I always say if I knew then what I know now I don’t know if I would have done it,” McGervey said. “But, I’m glad I didn’t know that because it’s totally been worth it.”

 As opposed to superstores (like Barnes & Noble), McGervey’s store focuses on the community’s and independent customer’s needs. While superstores buy books in bulk, OMP might purchase around five copies of a single book title, thus reinforcing their goal of discovery. Their book summary blurbs on Post-Its allow readers to uncover new book titles, and their staff is always willing to jump in to help a customer find something new. 

 “People who read are passionate about what they read and so they enjoy talking about it,” McGervey said. “And what’s really cool to me is when people who don’t even know each other come in and they bond over a book that that one of them is looking at…we’ve had people who’ve made friends here.” 

 McGervey’s ultimate goal is to keep One More Page Books open for as long as possible. With such a strong connection to the Arlington/Falls Church area, OMP hopes to remain where they are currently located, and with the aid of the community around them, that seems to be a likely possibility. 

 “We love our customers and I think even if we moved somewhere else…we would lose that connection…and so we want to stay here,” said McGervey.