Store sells used children's books, toys

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 8, 2012

By Emily Ford
SALISBURY – Out for an afternoon stroll, Daphne Safrit and her baby ducked into Picture Pages during a sudden rainshower.
The new mom, an avid reader, was thrilled with her serendipitous discovery – a cozy house-turned-shop chock full of gently used children’s books and toys.
“It’s going to be dangerous,” said Daphne, who lives nearby.
Picture Pages, located at 118 W. 13th St. in Salisbury, offers more than 5,000 new and used children’s books, educational games, textbooks, toys, puzzles, pictures, posters, videos and resources for parents and educators.
Craig Thomas, an educator, opened the store last month with business partner Harold Easley of Greensboro.
Easley does the marketing and will handle online book sales when they’re up and running. Thomas finds inventory and displays it with an artful touch.
The inspiration for Picture Pages came when Thomas walked into a chain bookseller and saw children’s books for sale for $15.
A teacher’s assistant for 10 years with Rowan-Salisbury Schools, Thomas said he knew many of his students could not afford the hefty price.
“I have been working with low-income kids, and many of them told me they didn’t have books at home,” he said. “They couldn’t afford it.”
Thomas had put together a significant collection of children’s books over the years, so with donations of books and toys from friends and coworkers, he decided to go into business.
Children’s books at Picture Pages cost between 50 cents and $5. New and used textbooks are cheaper than similar volumes available online, Thomas said, and parent and teacher resource materials are competitively priced.
The store is arranged like a library, with one room for fiction and another for nonfiction. A third room will host story time at 1 p.m. every Saturday, with featured storytellers Deanna McCauley and Myrl Thomas, who is a former librarian and Thomas’ mother.
Fiction is arranged in alphabetical order by the author’s last name and includes a section of fairy tales and fables, as well as chapter books.
Nonfiction offers several sections, including sports, biographies, cooking, transportation, arts and crafts, foreign languages, animals and nature, science, space and poetry.
Thomas said he hopes the shop will appeal to homeschoolers, teachers and anyone else who wants to instill the love of reading in a child.
He’s accepting donations of clean, gently used books with no torn or missing pages or stains. Picture Pages also offers consignment.
The shop is a sideline business for now, but Thomas, who continues to work as a substitute teacher, said he eventually would like to do it full-time.
Alice Smith works in the shop part-time.
Safrit, who worked at the Literary Bookpost before Margot May Pryor was born six months ago, said she was impressed with the selection and value at Picture Pages.
“The books are in wonderful condition,” she said. “I saw a lot of great classics.”
Store hours are noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. To learn more, call 704-213-3367 or visit .Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.