Browse Tag

bookstore

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Tattered Cover Is Now The Largest Black Owned Bookstore in The Country

Tattered Cover, Colorado’s largest bookstore chain, has been sold to local investors and is now the country’s largest Black owned bookstore.

Announced Wednesday morning via a press release, the sale moves all four Tattered Cover locations into the hands of Bended Page LLC., an investment group owned by Denver natives, Kwame Spearman and David Back.

largest black owned bookstore
Kwame Spearman

Spearman will serve as CEO and major shareholder. “We want to preserve what we all love about The Tattered Cover and give it the necessary capital to beat COVID,” Spearman said in a recent interview.

The purchase of the 49-year-old independent bookstore was made for an undisclosed amount of money.

 

Tony O. Lawson


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28 Black Owned Bookstores You Should Know

The number of Black owned bookstores has declined significantly since 1999. That year, there were reportedly more than 325. But, by 2012 had dropped to about 50.  In 2017, the number rose to about 70. We’d like to acknowledge some of the stores that are still going strong.

Black Owned Bookstores

Hakim’s Bookstore (Philadelphia, PA)

Everyone’s Place (Baltimore, MD)

Eso Won (Los Angeles, CA)

Mahogany Books (Washington, DC)

mahogany books

Sankofa (Washington, DC)

Pyramid Art, Books and Custom Framing (Little Rock, AR)

Dare Books (Longwood, FL)

Pyramid Books  (Boynton Beach, FL)

Nubian Bookstore ( Morrow, GA)

Source Booksellers (Detroit, MI)

source booksellers

Nandi’s Knowledge Cafe’ (Highland Park, MI)

Eyeseeme (University City, MO)

eyeseemee

La Unique African American Books & Cultural Center(Camden, NJ)

The Community Book Center (New Orleans, LA)

Cafe con Libros (Brooklyn, NY)

cafe con libros
sisters uptown bookstore

Sisters Uptown Bookstore (New York, NY)

Grandma’s Place (Harlem, NY)

Black Art Plus (Columbus, OH)

Black and Nobel (Philadelphia, PA)

black and nobel

Uncle Bobbies Coffee & Books (Philadelphia, PA)

black owned bookstores
uncle bobbies

Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse (Philadelphia, PA)

black owned bookstores
amalgam comics

Color Book Gallery (Philadelphia, PA)

The Pan African Connection (Dallas, TX)

The Dock Bookshop (Fort Worth, TX)

Black W0rld Books (Kileen, TX)

Harambee Books and Artworks (Alexandria, VA)

 


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This Black Owned Bookstore is Tapping Into An Unmet Need

EyeSeeMe is a Black owned bookstore that specializes in promoting positive African American Images, Academic Excellence, and Cultural Pride.

At this University City, MO based bookstore, young people of color can crack open a book and see themselves as doctors, superheroes, historical figures and even princesses.

Jeffrey and Pamela Blair are the co-owners. Jeffrey said he knew there was a need for the store long before they opened their doors in 2015.

Black owned bookstore
Pamela and Jeffrey Blair, co-owners of EyeSeeMe African American Children’s Bookstore

As they were homeschooling their children, Jeffrey said it was a challenge to find books and educational resources that were reflective of their children and their own experiences.

“It was really difficult to find materials that had positive black images,” Jeffrey Blair said. “And that’s whether you’re talking about history, whether you’re talking about science, you’re talking Bible, or any topic that we would get into.”

So the Blairs decided to create their own. Pamela wrote a couple biblical books, and Jeffrey created a historical timeline game. Jeffrey said not long after, they noticed a difference in their kids and how they were learning.

“That foundation we saw actually translated into giving them a real positive self-esteem, a clarity about a lot of even current events that are taking place, and a real excitement about learning,” Jeffrey said. “And to translate that into them doing very well in school. Eventually they transferred from homeschooling to the public school system and did exceptionally well.”

Brandon Wooten, 11, picks out books for summer reading at EyeSee Me. CREDIT CAROLINA HIDALGO | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO
Because the Blairs believe that education starts with self, they decided to expand their mission to help other parents who wanted the same thing for their kids. Pamela said since opening EyeSeeMe she’s seen firsthand how the reflective images in a book can resonate with kids, especially when little black girls see characters with natural hair.

“The hair is a big thing for young girls going to school,” Pamela said. “Not having hair like maybe their classmate, and they may think themselves as being ugly or not having the right hair. So we have a lot of books on hair and feeling comfortable in the hair that you have. So for our children it means a lot.”

And when “Black Panther” hit the big screen, Pamela noticed more kids flocking to their graphic-novel section to pick up a copy of the graphic-novel series. She said the strong response is in part because they could identify with the characters.

“They go in straight to that book or that book, because it makes them feel good,” Pamela said. “Not just because it’s a superhero, because for the first time there’s someone that is doing like magical things, and I can relate to him and he looks like me, and he’s in charge of his own life.”

Kiera Cross has come to the bookstore several times with her 1-year-old daughter, Skylar. She said as a teacher and a parent, it’s important that her daughter can have a place to see others who look like her at a young age.

“I remember growing up I didn’t have a store like this where I got to see myself, and I want her to see herself all of the time,” Cross said.

In recent years, the store has garnered national attention thanks to Sidney Keys III, who heads Books n Bros Reading Club. The club got its start because of a viral video of Keys getting lost in the book “Danny Dollar Millionaire Extraordinary” while at the store. The club, now based in Ferguson, started with seven boys and has since grown to more than 100. Pamela said that was a big deal.

“There’s some connection with our children and them seeing themselves and them loving who they’re seeing, what they’re seeing,” Pamela said. “The stories are positive. They are the hero of the story. They are the main character of the story. He enjoyed it so much, and it resonated with a lot of parents and other children.”

While the store is geared towards children, it also carries a few books and posters for adults. The Blairs say often adults are just as excited to see themselves in books as the kids. With such high demand, the Blairs say they’re planning to move the store to a larger location in August.

When they do, they will expand the young-adult and adult sections.

Visit Eyeseeme at their website.

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Marc Lamont Hill Opens a Coffee Shop & Bookstore in Philadelphia

Marc Lamont Hill introduces us to his new business, Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books and explains why we should all Shoppe Black.

Visit Uncle Bobbies online or at 5445 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19144

-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG @thebusyafrican)

 

 

 

 

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Black Owned Businesses in Ohio That You Should Know

Check out our list of Black owned businesses in Ohio.  Let us know which ones we missed!

Black Owned Businesses in Ohio

Island Frydays is a casual destination for Jamaican jerk chicken, along with seafood, sandwiches & sides.

Eddy’s Chicken and Waffles specialty is Chicken and Waffles but they also have a unique lunch menu that consists of Gyro sandwiches, Philly Cheese, Cheese Burgers and more.

Sweet Petit Desserts is a bakery that offers an array of baked goodness.

Elephant Walk offers Ethiopian & Indian classics served in a roomy, low-key space featuring a full bar with beer on tap.

Junebug Jewelry Designs offers fashionable handmade jewelry for individuals with exceptional style.

Smith & Hannon Bookstore is Cincinnati’s first free standing African American bookstore.

The purpose of Curvy Cardio is to help women embrace their curves (no matter what size) and love their bodies free of body shaming. ​

Joseph Clark Gallery showcases the traditional arts and artifacts of Sub-Saharan Africa. 

NOVE Home & Body Décor is a mobile lifestyle design firm that services professional styling and Interior Design.

Since 1955, the Cincinnati Herald has been the city’s premiere African American newspaper.

Originalitees is a clothing line that specializes in state, city and neighborhood pride apparel.store of Cincinnati apparel for men, women, kids and babies.

Black Owned Businesses

Sewendipity Lounge provides sewing classes in garment construction for the novice and advanced sewer.

Switch  is a modern lighting, furniture and design emporium located in downtown Cincinnati.

Chef Bambina is a catering and private chef company specializing in upscale events.

AlabamaQue is a BBQ joint with a few sit-down tables specializing in Southern-style smoked meats & accompaniments.

LISNR is a technology company that provides a data transmission protocol that utilizes ultrasonic, inaudible technology that sends data over audio.

Replenish provides spa services in the midst of the hustle and bustle of downtown Columbus.

 

Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson aka @thebusyafrican