Way Up West
by Jan Cox
“I am for books,” declares Nancy Quinn, new owner of Seaside Books (formerly Avonlea Bookstore) in Summerside. You know that the moment you enter into her book world. At the time of this interview, Nancy had owned the bookstore for 33 days. She bought the shop containing between 15 and 20,000 books September 1. With a sparkling, welcoming smile she beams, “This is what I get to do for the rest of my life!”
The former Economic Development Officer with the City of Summerside knew the potential of the local business. She was a customer for 10 years. For nine of those years she asked then owner Richard Kays, “Richard, is your bookstore for sale.” One day he said “yes.” With the support of her family, Nancy began negotiations, which are now settled, and Nancy Quinn could not be more over the moon. Her infectious, joyful approach to life, and the books surrounding her, draw you into the small, space on Water Street. She calls 2018 “my year of coming into my woman power.” “I am totally besotted with this.”
Seaside Books is a used book store with some local authors offering their work on consignment. “I’m like the humane society for books—I’m looking for good homes for all of them,” she laughs. “The community and local businesses have been so supportive, and kind it’s overwhelming.” Even several Three Oaks high school students came and asked if they could volunteer in the store and are reorganizing a couple of sections in their spare time.
“I want to serve my community, many of whom still want to hold books, smell books, turn pages. I’m a bookstore, not a gift shop,” Nancy states. Her passion for what she does is evident. The shop is currently open seven days a week. The lighting will be changed, and the 180 year old walls will get a fresh coat of paint. The store even holds a book shelf that reveals a “secret door.” “Isn’t this just the best,” she beams. Yes, the whole store is the best. But the powerful force behind Seaside Books is Nancy Quinn.
Drop in for a visit at 240 Water Street. She would love to swap stories with you as you take in hundreds of stories housed between thousands of pages. You won’t forget the phone number either, 888-BOOK (2665)!