Book enthusiasts open Black Stone Bookstore as literary hub for Ypsilanti

Carlos Franklin and Kip Johnson love books. Both men were finding ways to sell books independently before coming together to open Black Stone Bookstore & Cultural Center in Ypsilanti. 

"I like to read and I always feel like when you read something really good, you always want to share it with your friends," says Franklin. 

More than giving the Ypsilanti community a place to buy books, Franklin says the aim of Black Stone Bookstore is to give locals a place to celebrate reading, learning and sharing. The 800 square foot location includes an area to study and for events such as poetry readings and book clubs. 

"This is about creating something and being a motivation for others," Franklin says. "We have a bunch of barbershops and car washes here, but I wanted to do something different to build the community up."

Franklin says he'd like Black Stone to help Ypsilanti feel more like the college town it is. Though the shop is distinguishing itself as a destination for African American literature, the shop carries books representing all cultures, and Franklin says their intention is to reach out to everyone in the community. 

Black Stone Bookstore & Cultural Center opened at the beginning of Nov. with Johnson and Franklin on staff. They hope to grow the store to eventually include a full-service cafe and larger events space. 

Source: Carlos Franklin, Black Stone Bookstore and Cultural Center
Writer: Natalie Burg
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