People of O-Town: Julie Wilder’s life purpose is to serve her community

This article was written by Nick Gergdoudiou appeared in the January 2020 edition of The Community Paper and can be read in full at this link.


Photo by Nick GeorgoudiouThere’s something about walking into an independently owned bookstore. First off, they are rare, so you have to know where to look. Then there’s the feeling of purpose in the books they carry and the layout of the building. It’s welcoming and warm, and you connect with the people who work there.

That was Julie Wilder’s experience the first time she walked into Spiral Circle in the Mills 50 District. In fact, she felt such a strong connection that she and her business partner purchased it last year to keep it running in much the same way as it has for nearly 45 years.

“Back when I was at Dandelion, I would come in here all the time,” Wilder said. “This neighborhood has been my heart and soul for a very long time, so it’s really good to be back.”

Wilder moved to Orlando in 1996 to attend UCF, and she set up roots in Central Florida in a number of ways. She co-founded Dandelion Communitea Cafe in 2005 and was an owner through 2015. She hosted Front Porch Radio on WPRK for a decade through 2017. Along those same lines, Wilder and her business partner, Summer Rodman, purchased Spiral books in 2019.

“My purpose in life is to serve the community,” Wilder said. “I didn’t know if I was going to be good at this retail stuff. You never know until you try. I’m definitely shifting from restaurant to retail, but so far I’m loving it. And the response has been really great.”

Wilder’s daughter is learning about retail as well. The 10-year-old can often be found at Spiral Books stocking shelves and checking out customers.

“She’s like my little apprentice now,” Wilder said. “I would bring her into WPRK to be my mini DJ. Now she’s here with me. She’s 10 years old and she has skills that it took me until I was 25 to learn.”

June will mark the one-year anniversary of the ownership change at Spiral Books, along with the 45th anniversary of the business. Wilder sees this as a year of growth for her and the shop.

“This past year has been so good for me,” Wilder said. “I’m physically feeling really, really good. I’m professionally feeling really amazing because of everything that’s going on here. My family life is great. I did a lot of foundation laying in 2019, and 2020 is going to be more celebratory, so more gatherings, more hosting events, and, and just more of a focus on community building.”

Julie Wilder

Lover of herbal tea, rubies and community, Julie walks the Goddess path in the Wise Woman tradition. She is co-owner and manager of Spiral Circle as well as a product developer, mother and localist. In the past, she has been a graphic designer, organic food restauranteur and public radio talk show host focused on society and culture.
Julie wilder

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