Black Garnet Books To Open Physical Location In St. Paul's Midway Neighborhood
Photo Credit: M_a_y_a

Photo Credit: M_a_y_a

Black Garnet Books To Open Physical Location In St. Paul's Midway Neighborhood

black owned business , St.Paul , news
Parker Diakite
Parker Diakite Jan 7, 2022

Black-owned Black Garnet Books in Minnesota will open a physical location in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood thanks to a $100,000 grant from the city.

The bookstore received a Neighborhood STAR grant to renovate the brick-and-mortar in summer 2022.

For Dionne Sims, it’s a dream that started with a tweet in June 2020 when she realized there were no Black-owned bookstores in the Twin Cities or the state.

Sims took to the social media platform and wrote, “Minnesota doesn’t have a Black-owned bookstore. I think that’s my new dream,” as we previously reported.

The tweet went viral, and crowdfunding quickly followed. The money raised at the time helped with startup costs, including inventory, but it wasn’t enough for the construction of a physical space.

That all changed when St. Paul City Council member Mitral Jalali told the young entrepreneur about the city’s STAR grant, which provides small business owners with loans and grants for capital improvement projects.

Sims told the Star Tribune that she chose the Hamline-Midway area because accessibility is important to her, as the physical location will have direct access to the city’s public transportation. Black Garnet Books will also be in one of St. Paul’s most diverse neighborhoods.

“I looked at or had been presented with locations in more upper-class white neighborhoods, and I was just like, no, that’s not the vibe that I want,” Sims told the Star Tribune. “That’s not who I’m doing this for, and so I really wanted to focus on somewhere like where I would live.”

It’s a space that will still be close to home as Sims was raised in Minneapolis.

“I’m from Minneapolis, but having moved to St. Paul a few years ago, I’ve kind of just fallen in love with it, the Midway neighborhood, especially. It’s really diverse; the businesses here are really cool, too,” Sims added. “I was like, OK, if I could have my business where I live and integrate myself into the community, I think that’d be amazing.”

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