O’Neill’s Shop on the Corner

While visiting Bryson City, North Carolina a couple of weeks ago to introduce my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, to store owners, I happened upon a lovely bookstore just feet from the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad station. O’Neill’s Shop on the Corner was a pleasant surprise.

My sister and I had planned to eat lunch at The Filling Station because it had rave reviews online. After being told it would be a 45-minute wait, we walked up Main Street until Jimmy Mac’s Pizza caught our eye. Lo and behold, we spotted O’Neill’s Shop on the Corner across the street and went there after lunch.

O'Neill's Shop on the Corner in Bryson City, NC.
O’Neill’s Shop on the Corner in Bryson City, NC.

I met the new owners, Tom and Cynthia O’Neill. They are new to the bookstore business. I introduced my book to them and, thereby, introduced them to Arcadia Publishing. I told them how to contact Arcadia’s sales department to order my book and other books by Arcadia.

It was a beautiful, mild winter day in this mountain town. It was the first time I’d been to Bryson City. I want to go back and spend more time there. I want to go back and ride the steam train!

Some “cold calls” go better than others

Most of my recent posts have been positive, but today I’ll share the other side of the coin. I made a few more “cold calls” in Bryson City, North Carolina, on December 13. Some of them went better than others. Although a Saturday in December was probably not the best day for me to be out and about promoting my book to store owners, it was my only opportunity to visit Bryson City this winter. Overall, I had a successful day. I called on three stores there in the afternoon that probably won’t result in book sales, but that’s okay. Bryson City isn’t a large enough town to support my book in every store. I’m confident that it will soon be available in two stores in town and that will be perfect.

Trips like the two I made to the mountains in December have given me confidence and some interesting memories. All the memories fall into the “good” category except for one, which definitely falls into the “interesting” category. I visited one store, which will remain nameless in this blog, in which the owner was less than receptive. After reprimanding me for having called on him on a Saturday, he turned his head and spit. (You can’t make this stuff up!) Needless to say, I do not expect my book to ever appear on the shelves in that store. I can’t help but think that particular establishment stays in business in spite of the owner. The other 25 to 30 store owners I met in December were welcoming and gracious. There are a lot of good people out there operating small businesses. I hope as the economy continues to improve, people will remember to support small local businesses.

As a new author, I must get myself and my book title out there any way I can without breaking my contract with Arcadia Publishing. Together, we are trying to blanket the mountains with my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. It is proving to be a slow process, but I believe I made some excellent contacts during the month of December.

My next blog will be about another pleasant surprise I had in Bryson City.

Charleston Station in Bryson City NC

Bryson City is a nice little town just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One of its draws is Smoky Mountain Railroad and the steam trains one can take to and from the town. We were there recently on a Saturday. The historic downtown district was filled with families and children dressed in their pajamas — ready to board The Polar Express that evening.

We were in town to try to get my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, placed in a store or two. Sometimes we go into a store hoping to place it there only to be sent to another location. That is what happened in Bryson City. I thought perhaps the old N.C. Clampitt Hardware Company or the Ace Hardware would be interested in selling my book. I was told in each of those establishments that I needed to go up the street to Charleston Station and ask for Diana Clampitt. Charleston Station is an antiques and gift shop located in an old house.

Charleston Station in Bryson City, NC.
Charleston Station in Bryson City, NC.

Ms. Clampitt is one of the owners of all three stores. She loved my book! She said she will order it in the spring for Charleston Station. She tries not to duplicate merchandise in the three stores. Charleston Station will close after the holidays for the winter and will reopen on March 18, 2015. Hopefully, my book will be available there when it opens for business then for the tourist season.