The merger of Osondu Booksellers and Blue Ridge Books and Café will eventually bring under one roof the long legacy of two beloved Waynesville institutions catering to readers and etched in the memory of the downtown community
A legacy of books
Osondu Booksellers is a direct descendant of the original Waynesville Book Co., which opened on Waynesville’s Main Street in 1870. That store fell victim to the Depression. In the 1970s, Charlie and Edie Sloan opened Sloan’s Book Shop in a building just a few doors away from where Osondu is now located. They eventually moved one block off Main Street.
Kent Stewart bought Sloan’s in 1997, and in 2002 moved it back to Main Street, renaming it The Waynesville Book Company. On a visit to Waynesville in 2003, Margaret Osondu was visiting Stewart’s store and mentioned she wanted to open a bookstore of her own. He offered to sell The Waynesville Book Company, and the deal was completed in September 2004.
Curb Market memories
While Blue Ridge Books and Café is now the town’s largest seller of magazines and newspapers, that title was held by the Open Air Curb Market from 1946 until 2004.
The store, with its old wooden floors and farm paraphernalia nailed to its walls, was a general store, newsstand, and superette combined, never switching to bar codes and scanners and still carrying Nehi sodas and boiled peanuts. But it was the voluminous daily delivery of newspapers and other periodicals that brought people in every day.
When its owner Adeline Patrick died, her daughters kept it going for a couple of years before selling the building, which became High Country Style. Three years passed before Blue Ridge Books and Café opened a storefront on Main Street and filled the void of somewhere to buy magazines and papers.