Sharon Anderson Wright was only a child when she got involved in the family business. She is now the president and chief executive officer of the 45-year-old company, Half Price Books.
“I helped install the first store when I was kid, so it’s always been a part of my life and a way of being,” said Anderson Wright. Half Price Books was founded by her mom Pat Anderson and Ken Gjemre in July 1972 in a converted laundromat in Dallas, Texas. “We buy and sell everything printed and recorded except yesterday’s newspaper. Half Price Books sells new and used books, magazines, comics, records, CDs, DVDs and collectible items,” said Anderson Wright. “Our target market is really anyone who loves books, music and movies at a great price, which we hope is everyone!”
Since then, the chain has grown to 124 locations in 17 states (www.hpb.com/stores), including a brand new location in St. Charles opening this August.
Pat passed away in the mid-1990s and her daughter Sharon Anderson Wright has served as president and CEO since then. Anderson Wright’s husband, Ken, is the president of Bookmark, the company’s real estate division. Her sister, Ellen O’Neal, serves as chairperson of the board. Ellen’s son, Brady, is the vice president of risk management, and her daughter, Emily, is the donations and community outreach specialist. Anderson Wright has two teenage children—one in high school and one who is heading off to college this fall—who will work part-time during the school year. One of her children is already planning for the third generation to take over the business. “My daughter hopes to take over the company one day,” said Anderson Wright. Half Price Books has continued to grow each year.
The bookstore will open a new location in St. Charles on Aug. 17. “We’ll have special great opening discounts throughout the weekend,” said Anderson Wright. “In addition, we will give away 100 tote bags with $5 gift cards to the first 100 people in line each day, with one lucky booklover winning a $100 gift card each day.”
In addition to the new locations, Anderson Wright said the company will continue to work on growing its online and wholesale businesses, expanding the products developed and looking at opportunities for alternative stores. To find out about the latest happenings at Half Price Books sign up for the email list at www.hpb.com/join.