Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books founder dies after battle with kidney disease

Nancy Olson

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The founder of a well-known Raleigh bookstore has died.

The manager at Quail Ridge Books confirms Nancy Olson, the original owner of the book store, passed away Sunday morning after a three-year battle with kidney disease. She was 75 years old.

Olson opened the independent book store in 1984.

Since then, it has won numerous awards and hosted award winning artists and global leaders. Olson was called a cultural treasure during her inductions into the Raleigh Hall of Fame.

Olson sold the store a couples years ago to Lisa Poole, but long-time employees said Olson visited the business often until her death.

Funeral arrangements have not been set.

Here is a message from the current management of the bookstore about Olson’s passing:

“It is with tremendous sadness that I relate that Nancy passed away this morning after a three year battle with kidney disease.

Nancy was the founder of Quail Ridge Books and the owner for 29 years. Her love for literature and music, combined with her warm and expansive personality, inspired and influenced a literary Renaissance in the Raleigh community and was felt well beyond it. Those of us who were fortunate to work with her will always be guided by her passion, integrity, and courage, spiced with a large dose of humor.

On a personal note, Nancy was my colleague, mentor, boss, and one of my best friends for the last 30 years. She will be greatly missed.

On behalf of Quail Ridge Books, our hearts and condolences go out to Nancy’s family: her husband Jim, sons David and Corey, and granddaughters Leila and Sarah.”

Friends and co-workers say a memorial will be planned for Olson in the coming days.

“It was hard for everyone. Nancy was somebody who we all felt close to and her family as well. Her husband Jim worked at the store for many, many years too. We feel close to the whole Olson family,” said Sarah Goddin, General Manager of Quail Ridge Books.

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