John Olsson, Founder of Olsson's Book and Records, Died at 78
John E. Olsson, founder of the beloved and once-famous Olsson’s Books and Records, died Oct. 28 at the age of 78 in Silver Spring. He started his stores in Dupont Circle, eventually controlling a chain of nine shops, the best of which was on Wisconsin Avenue at Prospect Street (near the site of the Apple Computer store).
A graduate of Catholic University, Olsson made the merchandising leap to combine the love of music and reading in one place. His stores were popular for years, known for the ease of just walking along the aisles, of getting knowledgeable answers from the store staff and of possibly spying a famous politician or celebrity perusing the shop.
Bookstore chains, Internet shopping and downloadable tunes led to the demise of the Olsson’s empire, with the Georgetown store falling in 2002. Its last five stores closed two years ago.