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