The Atlantic

The Empty Nesters Who Run a Bookstore—And Live Together

“A lot of people told me, ‘Don’t do it.’ I said, ‘But I love books and reading.’”
Source: Wenjia Tang

Each installment of The Friendship Files features a conversation between The Atlantic’s Julie Beck and two or more friends, exploring the history and significance of their relationship.

This week she talks with VaLinda Miller, whose empty-nest syndrome inspired her to buy a bookstore, and Arrylee Satterfield, her best friend, whom she hired to run it. After some hardships, the store changed locations—and VaLinda and Arrylee moved in together. They discuss the joys and pains of running a business, their Odd Couple roommate relationship, and, of course, books:

The Friends:

VaLinda Miller, 55, the owner of Turning Page Bookshop, in Goose Creek, South Carolina
Arrylee Satterfield, 55, the manager of Turning Page Bookshop

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Julie Beck: How did you meet and become friends?

Arrylee Satterfield: We’ve been friends since 2004.

She and I attended the same church here in Goose Creek. We became close because we were members of the Christian book club at the church. We would

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