Beloved Bookstore Closes Its Doors

by Anna Haas ‘23

Image of Cricket Book Shop located on 17800 New Hampshire Ave, Ashton, MD 20861

Cricket Book Shop has been a cornerstone of the Ashton and Olney-Sandy Spring community and has now, after five decades, decided to close its doors. In late July of 1969, Nan Yarnall, then a teacher at Sandy Spring Friends School, opened Cricket Book Shop in its original location, a building that is unfortunately no longer there. After Yarnall, Cricket changed ownership twice, being handed over to Mary Jo Wilson and Mary Miller in 1990 and then to Sharon Evans, Wilson’s daughter-in-law, when she bought out Miller’s share in 1995. 

Though it originally started out as just a bookstore, big box stores such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon along with the Internet led Cricket to expand its products. In the quaint building, Cricket housed a treasure trove of items other than books including gift cards, pottery – locally made at that, Peter Pauper Press journals, earrings, trollbeads, stuffed animals, and American Girl Doll clothes. By the end, only 30 percent of Cricket’s products were books. 

Though products changed over time, Cricket clientele never did. Cricket always had support from the community, according to Evans, especially when the pandemic rolled around. Some of the more popular books that Cricket sold, particularly in its last few months included the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny and the various books about distinguished women. 

Even with the camaraderie and love Cricket gave and received from the community, all good things must come to an end. On December 24, 2021, Cricket closed its doors for good. “I need to retire,” said Evans. Though there were no financial reasons to close, Evans disclosed that she has numerous growing responsibilities at home to deal with without the pressures of running a small business. The news of the closure saddened many members of the community, and some “customers [were] in tears,” according to Evans. 

The building is currently under contract, but Evans is not at liberty to say who looks to be buying it or what they plan on doing with it. Evans said she would “like to see it be a bookstore, but it’s not going to be a bookstore.” 

“I’m sorry I had to be the one to close the bookstore . . . there’s really no place like [Cricket] around.”