Omega Books celebrates 25 years of loving books and readers

From left are Omega Books owner Karen Duncan and manager Rene Miller Mittenzwei. Photo/Michael Boylan.

As area residents flock to get acquainted with The Fresh Market at their grand opening tomorrow, Karen Duncan, owner of Omega Books, and her staff hope that some of those residents take the time to get reacquainted with them.

“We’re so excited about Fresh Market opening this week. It’s been two years since Baby Kroger left and it was rough for the businesses in this center to lose the anchor store,” said Duncan, who added that the other business owners now feel more optimistic with The Fresh Market’s arrival and the facelift that the businesses in the center received.

Omega Books opened in 1986 and was the only bookstore in the area at the time. There was a debate over the exact “grand opening” of the store, so Duncan, who has been with Omega since the beginning and became the owner in 2000, decided to call this Wednesday the 25th anniversary to coincide with the grand opening of The Fresh Market.

“There is nothing like Fresh Market in the area, so I’m looking forward to people from all over coming for them, seeing the bookstore, asking us how long we’ve been here and telling them, ‘Just 25 years,” Duncan said.

Omega will celebrate with an open house with refreshments and a raffle for prizes including gift certificates to the store and to The Fresh Market. As always, they will offer some of the best browsing in town.

When Omega Books opened, it was the destination for new books but former owner Don Jones saw the writing on the wall in the early 1990s and added used books to the store. It was a move that saved the store and has kept them open through some very lean times.

The used books are donated by customers who receive store credit for more used books. The program has been so successful that a one bag or box limit has been put on donations. Omega still sells new books, provides a section for local authors, and can order any book out there, but their used book section is stellar and has given the store a much deserved reputation as a place to go to find something great to read. They are popular with book clubs and consider themselves experts in helping readers find authors that are similar to other authors they enjoy.

Like every bookstore in the country, Omega Books is dealing with readers heading towards e-readers like the Kindle or the Nook. Duncan and Rene Miller Mittenzwei, manager of the store, believe that lots of people still prefer to hold a real book in their hands. They share the same concerns as every other business in these uncertain economic times, but they have the knowledge that they have weathered other storms and come out on the other side. Omega took a hit when Barnes and Noble opened across from the Fayette Pavilion and another when Books-A-Million opened at The Avenue, but now big box bookstores, like Borders, are feeling a pinch and Omega may just have the size, niche and local love to pull through.

“We have such dedicated customers,” Duncan said. “People who donate a lot of books for store credit but make a point to buy books as well, because they know we can’t pay bills with store credit. I just want to give all of them a hug.”

Over the years Omega has played host to some big name authors and dignitaries. Duncan stated that the biggest crowd came for Zell Miller when he was signing books. They have also hosted authors like Terry Kay, Mary Kay Andrews, Debbie Giusti, Furman Bisher, Steve Eubanks and more.

Local authors can sell their books on consignment at the store and often have signing events for them.

Omega Books is preparing for one of their big times of year: summer reading. Not only do they get all of the summer reading books for local high school classes, but they are a popular destination for people looking for books to take to the beach or poolside. Aside from Christmas, it is their busiest time of year.

With a new neighbor a few doors down, Omega Books hopes to be busier throughout the year and to celebrate another 25 years as a destination for Peachtree City and Fayette County’s readers.

mcbalmes
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Book Store

I love your store. Happy 25 years.