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Obama Visits Local Book Store: A First-Hand Account

by ARLnow.com November 26, 2012 at 3:35 pm 9,442 21 Comments

On Saturday afternoon, President Barack Obama visited One More Page Books, an independent book store at 2200 N. Westmoreland Street in Arlington’s East Falls Church neighborhood.

The visit coincided with the post-Thanksgiving shopping day known as Small Business Saturday. With daughters Sasha and Malia in tow, and after several checks of the shopping list on his Blackberry, the president purchased 15 children’s books as Christmas presents.

We asked One More Page owner Eileen McGervey about the experience of hosting the Commander in Chief as a customer.

ARLnow: How did you first find out about the president’s visit?

We found out that President Obama and his daughters would be visiting about 10 minutes before they arrived.

ARLnow: What preparations did you make?

We didn’t have time to do anything. The security folks came in and went through the store in the time before they arrived.

ARLnow: Tell us a bit about the visit — what were they looking for, what did they say to you, etc.?

The President and his daughters were lovely and gracious and we chatted about books. The President had a shopping list of books for gifts and his daughters helped him select from the list. They did browse around the store. The President chatted with customers who were in the store when he arrived and at the end of his shopping, he took pictures with customers. A couple having their wedding reception at La Cote D’or restaurant asked if they could have their picture taken with him (and he said yes) — they were thrilled. While he was in the store, a crowd had gathered outside the store and when he walked out the door a roar went up. He shook hands with folks waiting outside. It was wonderful and folks who had been waiting outside came in after he left to talk about it — everyone was so excited and thrilled.

ARLnow: What has it been like since the visit? Have more people been stopping by the store?

The store’s been very busy. Most of the people who came Saturday after the President left did not know he had been there. They were there for Small Business Saturday. Many of the customers yesterday and today came because the saw the news about the President’s business. It’s been a mix of new customers and regular customers coming by to shop and to congratulate us. 

White House photo (top) by Pete Souza

  • internet tourettes

    Does anyone remember if “W” ever came to Arlington?

    (this is a non-political question.)

    • sunflower

      not sure about that, but do remember that his daughters did ; – /. mostly wekend evenings………

    • Malaka

      He went to a church service at Clarendon Methodist Church once.

      • bobbytiger

        Yep, saw his car wizz by our house. Didn’t notice any photographers in tail shooting any photo-ops though.

    • Pentagonian

      I saw what appeared to be the Presidential motorcade parked outside Nordstrom’s @ Pentagon City back in December 2007. Can’t confirm if he was there or not.

  • Becoming Indifferent

    He had dinner at least once at El Paso Cafe on North Pershing.

  • Right of Center

    Peking Duck w/ Bush Sr.

    • Helen

      That’s in Bailey’s Crossroads and W also came there.

    • nom de guerre

      Last time I checked it was still called Peking Gourmet Inn.

  • Hippie Chic

    Save a tree buy e-books.

  • Id

    I hope he got a copy of Atlas Shrugged

    • tmginnova

      Well, it is juvenile literature, so might fit in a teenager’s list for fantasy books. But I think its misanthropic tone would prevent a good parent from picking it up for their kid.

  • nitpicker

    Sorry, Peking Duck is not in Arlington.

  • Libby

    Has the bookstore commissioned a plaque yet to commemorate the event?

    • Skeptical

      Why? Gratuitous photo op? Lame.

  • Jason S.

    President Obama is not the bookstore owner’s Commander-in-Chief, he is her President.

    • drax

      Uh, okay.

  • yequalsy

    That’s a nice little bookstore and I’ve been pessimistic it will survive. It’s tucked away a bit. Maybe this will give it a boost.

  • Ted

    Is it necessary to disrupt cell phone service for a 1 mile radius for a couple hours for a surprise visit? I can always tell when a VIP is having lunch in the area because I cannot make or receive phone calls.

    • MC 703

      Seems reasonable given the need for VIP security.

  • Mary Ellen

    I love this bookstore! So glad to see they’re getting some attention. I always walk in there with a book in mind and leave with two more…


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