Last month we told how a local bookseller, Lion’s Tooth, will soon open a physical location in Bay View. Lion’s Tooth’s successful campaign to open a brick-and-mortar store was partially due to support from online fundraising. Now, another bookseller, Niche Book Bar, is going the same route in its quest to open a physical location. Not only that, but Niche Book Bar aims to be the only Black-owned bookstore in Wisconsin, focused on Black literature and Black authors.
“I’m asking for the community’s help to bring a Black-owned bookstore back to Wisconsin and to Bronzeville, a historically black neighborhood,” says Niche owner Cetonia Weston-Roy in her Kickstarter campaign. (Milwaukee’s Black-owned Reader’s Choice closed in 2017.) “Imagine, a book lover will come in for coffee as they browse the shelves. Book Clubs will meet and discuss their book over a glass of wine. Families will come in for storytime and find the shelves filled with reflections of them! But what does it take to help Milwaukee find its Niche?”
Weston-Roy has a proven track record. She’s been operating a successful Niche Book Bike during the endlessly difficult year of 2020, and she’s an author herself, having self-published The Misadventures Of Toni Macaroni In: The Mad Scientist. As she explains in her Kickstarter video, both her business and her own work celebrate a Black experience that isn’t necessarily “based in trauma.” (Weston-Roy is a self-described geek, and Niche’s online store includes plenty of sci-fi and horror titles.)
With four weeks to go, Weston-Roy is nearing her $55,000 Kickstarter goal. That money will be used to cover six months of operating costs, as well as furniture and fixtures and other expenses. A space on West Walnut Street is currently “on deck.”
Help make Niche Book Bar a reality by clicking HERE.