Wilson's Book World

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Wilson's Books was founded in 1971 by Helen Wilson, mother of the current owner Jeff Morris.

It began in August of that year when Helen, fed up with office politics at her current employer Home Federal decided to reach for the dream of her own business.

For years her and son Jeff had regularly haunted the few local book stores on the weekend and had even managed to work in one for a summer.

The announcement to the family came at the dinner hour in the form of a bucket of KFC and the statement "We're celebrating, we just bought a book store". After dinner the family excitedly piled into the car. Off they went to get the first glimpse of the new shared adventure and unbeknownst to them, way of life.

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The shop was located at 524 9th Street. It sat at the end of a row of shops. As the door opened and fluorescent lights flickered on, excitement gave way to a bit of apprehension.

As it turned out the term bookstore was a bit of a reach.  For there, in the middle of a long, deep, empty room with Augusta brick floor sat a 12 foot high pile of books. Helen had rented the space which was the book storage area of an antique shop next door. The antique dealers expressed no interest in books and Helen decided to seize the opportunity with an offer to buy them all. It worked.

At that point it became a family affair. Shelves were built, the giant unorganized pile of books was cleaned stacked and organized.

In November of 1971 Wilson's Books opened their doors for the first time.

Since then a long progression of stock has been added to the store. First paperbacks were added then comic books. By the next year Helen was renting the vacant shop next to her. The store was quickly expanding.

In 1974 the building was purchased at 2394 M.L. King St. N. and in one very long weekend the store moved into its current location.

In 1988 son Jeff bought Helen out and she retired. Helen Wilson passed away in 1995.

Wilson's now counts itself as one of the largest, most eclectic, book stores in the southeastern United States. Stocking  more than 200,000 items from the reading for pleasure paperbacks to tomes from the 15th century and just about everything in between.

Proud members of the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association Wilson's deals worldwide through the internet and continues to serve its community with quality reading and reference material.

Click Here to read "Love Of Books Brings A New Career", an article about Helen Wilson by Hazel Geissler, printed in the July 5, 1972 St. Petersburg Evening Independent. (From the Google News Archive)
If you have difficulty with the Google News Archive story, there is an alternate, easier to read version, Click Here.
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Wilson's Books was founded in 1971 by Helen Wilson, mother of the current owner Jeff Morris.

It began in August of that year when Helen, fed up with office politics at her current employer Home Federal decided to reach for the dream of her own business.

For years her and son Jeff had regularly haunted the few local book stores on the weekend and had even managed to work in one for a summer.

The announcement to the family came at the dinner hour  in the form of a bucket of KFC and the statement "We're celebrating, we just bought a book store". After dinner the family excitedly piled into the car. Off they went to get the first glimpse of the new shared adventure and unbeknownst to them, way of life.

The shop was located at 524 9th Street. It sat at the end of a row of shops. As the door opened and fluorescent lights flickered on, excitement gave way to a bit of apprehension.