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Weeks after the passing of Politics and Prose’s Carla Cohen, another prominent figure in the D.C. literary community has died. John Olsson, founder of Olsson’s Books & Records, died last Thursday. The native Washingtonian opened his first store in 1972, beginning with music and eventually expanding to books. At its peak in 2002, Olsson’s had nine stores in the D.C. metro area—including locations in Dupont Circle, Penn Quarter, Georgetown, Bethesda, Old Town Alexandria, and Arlington—which generated over $16 million and employed 200 people. The chain was down to five stores in the fall of 2008 when Olsson’s filed for bankruptcy and shuttered all stores soon after.
Photo: Keith Stanley